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Democrats Block Republican Effort to Fund Benefits Promised to the Men and Women of America’s Armed Forces

June 16, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2009

CONTACT: Ryan Murphy

(202) 225-2452 (Office)

(202) 689-4825 (Cell)

Democrats Block Republican Effort to Fund Benefits Promised to the Men and Women of America’s Armed Forces

WASHINGTON – During debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 today, Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee voted largely along party lines to table a Republican amendment to authorize key benefits for America’s military personnel and their families, military retirees, and veterans. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, offered an amendment that would eliminate the “Widow’s Tax”, provide for concurrent receipt of retirement pay and VA disability benefits, and extended TRICARE to Guard and Reserve members who are already receiving early retirement.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): “This amendment is part of a broader effort to clarify and correct gaps in the benefits afforded our servicemembers and their families. Each of these initiatives in the amendment has broad bipartisan support, and would have been adequately funded through a reserve fund already established in this year’s budget resolution. I encourage my colleagues to take a second look at these commonsense proposals and work together to provide our veterans and their families the resources they need and deserve.”

Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA): “America’s military personnel serve on the frontlines for our nation without asking for much in return. We had an opportunity today to fulfill some of the promises we made to them and their families in exchange for their sacrifices. Considering that Congress has spent billions on economic stimulus measures, we had hoped that we could find the money necessary to finally realize these promises.”

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA): “By not moving forward with this effort, we are missing out on a golden opportunity to finally fund concurrent receipt for disabled veterans, eliminate the Widow’s Tax and improve healthcare coverage for our reservists. I am disappointed that those in power have decided that now is not the time to fulfill our obligation to our service personnel.”

The amendment offered by Rep. Wilson would force the Budget Committee Chairman to utilize the “reserve funds” that were inserted into the Budget Resolution by the House Democratic leadership to eliminate the “Widow’s Tax”, provide for concurrent receipt of retirement pay and VA disability benefits, and extended TRICARE to Guard and Reserve members who are already receiving early retirement.

Attached is a copy of the letter sent by the Military Officers Association of America in support of Rep. Wilson’s efforts.

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