The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Congressman John Carter of Texas, and will be introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
Carter was joined in a news conference unveiling the bill in the U.S. Capitol by Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson of the Military Spouse Business Association; Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) President Vice Admiral (RET) Norbert Ryan, USN; representatives of Senators Burr and Feinstein; and military spouses and dependents from as far away as North Carolina.
"We have long supported a service member's ability to continue voting and paying taxes in one state over the course of a military career as they are transferred around the world on orders," says Carter, who represents Fort Hood, the U.S. Army's largest base. "I feel it has been an egregious oversight spanning decades that we have not extended that stability to spouses as well, as they are impacted politically and economically just as much as the service member by these frequent and career-long moves."
Poynter and Williamson stressed both the monetary cost to spouses in having to change residency status with every move, and the unique ability of military families to work with multiple Members of Congress in order to help promote the issue. "The fact that many couples have different Congressmen and Senators in the same household because of this situation gives us an edge in pushing the issue," says Poynter.
"Our nation has long recognized the importance of servicemembers' ability to maintain a domicile for voting and taxes," says Admiral Ryan. "The service of today's military spouses is such that they deserve that same opportunity."
"This bill will give military spouses the ability to keep residency in their home state regardless of where military orders send their family," Senator Burr wrote in a statement provided for the event. "Our military families are often called on to make frequent relocations, which can be very disruptive to family life, and it is only fair that we give the same residency benefits to spouses as we do to servicemembers."
Carter, House Republican Conference Secretary, introduced the bill in the House during the last session of Congress. 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.