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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2006)

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Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Speaker, I stand here before you today in support of our troops and their families. This motion to recommit would send H.R. 5122 back to the Armed Services Committee with instructions to bring the bill back to the whole House with the addition of H.R. 808.

I commend my friend Mr. Brown from South Carolina for introducing H.R. 808, a bill which now has 202 cosponsors, including myself. This bill would end the practice of penalizing surviving spouses of those who have died as a result of service-connected injuries.

Mr. Speaker, the Military Families Tax affects over 50,000 families in the country. It is an unjust burden on those whose spouses served the Nation in defense of our freedom. I commend those families and call upon this House to vote an end to the unfair tax on survivor compensation.

Right now, if a soldier dies, their spouse will have the amount of the Survivor Benefit Plan reduced by the amount they received from the VA as dependency and indemnity compensation. For the loss of a loved one, we penalize spouses with a $993 month reduction in their compensation. Our soldiers families do not deserve to be treated this way, and all of us should continue to fight until we can right this wrong.

I offered an amendment last year to the defense authorization bill that would have eliminated this unjust provision, but we denied a debate. The other body chose to include SBP relief, but the defense conferees failed to adopt it, and we were again denied the opportunity to fix this problem.

In November, my good friend, Mr. Edwards from Texas, started a discharge petition to bring H.R. 808 to the floor. That petition now has 168 signatories. Today, I ask my colleagues as fellow Americans to stand up for military widows.

Let us make a statement here today that the Military Families Tax is unjust, unfair and un-American.

Mr. Speaker, we should send this bill back to the committee and demand that they ease the burden on our military families. America can do better to provide for the families of our Nation's military heroes. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this motion to recommit.

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