The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act as part of the House Suspension Calendar by a unanimous voice vote. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law within the next few days.
The House action today brings to a legislative conclusion a three-year quest by U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) to improve the legal residency status of military spouses that began in 2007. Carter originally introduced the bill in the 110th Congress in May 2008, then again in the 111th Congress this February as HR 1182 in the House, and by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) as S. 475 in the Senate.
"This is fantastic news for our service families worldwide," says Carter. "We should have done this long ago, but at least we are now on track to have a new law in 2009." Watch Carter's remarks on the House Floor here.
The bill allows a military spouse who moves out of a state with their service member under military orders to have the option to claim the same state of domicile as their active duty spouse, regardless of where they are stationed. Service members themselves have had that option for decades, while spouse did not, leaving many families with split residencies.