NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2006)
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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairman Hunter for his hard work, not just this year but over the years working on behalf of our men and women in uniform who serve us so well all around the globe. He, of course, is a Vietnam veteran himself and has seen action and knows exactly what he is talking about. I commend him for his work in this area.
In November of 2003, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004. This legislation allowed spouses of active duty personnel killed after November 23, 2003, the option of signing their military survivor benefit plan, the SBP payments, over to their child or children so they could receive the payment without being subject to SBP dependency indemnity compensation, or DIC, the offset.
Unfortunately, this option is not currently available to spouses of soldiers killed from the time period beginning October 7, 2001, which was the start of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, until November 23, 2003, when the legislation was actually passed. There are approximately 400 families who are adversely affected by this glaring omission.
One such family who lives in my district is Shauna Moore and her 3-year-old daughter, Hannah. Their loving husband and father, Army Sergeant Benjamin Moore, was fatally shot during a rifle-training exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, in February, 2003, while preparing for deployment to Iraq. It is through these unfortunate circumstances that I have had the chance to meet and talk with Shauna Moore and hear her story.
So today I am offering an amendment that expresses the sense of Congress that the widows and widowers of these 400 brave American soldiers who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms do not remain the forgotten few.
If accepted, I am hopeful that this amendment is the start of a process by which we may allow these 400 spouses and their families to obtain the option of assigning their SBP payments to their children, just as those whose spouses died after November 23, 2003, have been given the opportunity to do.
I believe this is the least we can do for families and people like Shauna and Hannah Moore who have already had to deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one. They should not be penalized solely because their loved one made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our country after the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars but before November 23, 2003, when that particular legislation passed. These are 400 families that should not be forgotten. I believe my colleagues will support this.
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