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Pascrell Votes to Provide Financial Security to America's Veterans


Location: Washington, DC



U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined a unanimous majority in the House of Representatives to stop the continuation of an unjust financial penalty from reaching wounded American troops. The Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act ensures that members of the Armed Forces who are discharged after suffering combat-related wounds receive the full compensation to which they are entitled by the Department of Defense.

"The President must join Congress in approving this common sense measure and ensure that no wounded veteran ever be asked to forego compensation," stated Rep. Pascrell, a cosponsor of the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act. "It is the least we can do to honor the brave service and heroic sacrifices endured by our injured military veterans."

Rep. Pascrell co-sponsored the legislation after the bipartisan Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, co-chaired by former Senator Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, uncovered a Department of Defense rule that unfairly penalized wounded soldiers by prohibiting them from receiving their full enlistment bonuses.

Specifically, the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act would provide essential financial security to our injured men and women by guaranteeing full payment of bonuses earned and owed to them. The measure will mandate the Department of Defense to provide full bonuses within 90 days of discharge to any service members who die or are discharged for disabilities.

Following passage of the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, the House also voted to unanimously approve the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act. The Heart Act would provide tax relief, mortgage assistance, and retirement plan flexibility to America's military families, and extends tax benefits to volunteer firefighters and Peace Corps volunteers. The legislation includes a provision that Rep. Pascrell authored in February as part of the Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Act to include combat pay as earned income for the purpose of computing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Combat pay is generally non-taxable and therefore not included EITC computation.

"This Congress has passed the largest veterans funding increase in history and has approved dramatic improvements to the military healthcare system. But due the to administration's obstinate refusal to embrace our commitment to America's veterans, too many vets are still not fully provided for. I am encouraged by the progress we've made towards restoring compensation, providing tax relief and mortgage assistance to ease the burden on America's military families. But much more work remains as thousands of new veterans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan," concluded Pascrell.

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