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Rep. Yarmuth Leads Bipartisan Group of 177 Members Supporting Repeal of So-Called "Widow's Tax"

WASHINGTON– Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, led a bipartisan letter signed by 177 members of the House of Representatives calling for an end the so-called “Widow’s Tax” on surviving military spouse benefits.

The signers urge the respective Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include the House-passed Yarmuth Amendment permanently repealing the offset as they begin their upcoming Conference on the National Defense Authorization Act. Yarmuth’s amendment corrected a provision in current law that unfairly requires surviving spouses of deceased military members to forfeit part or all of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are an estimated 60,000 surviving families negatively impacted by the SBP-DIC offset, which reduces surviving spouses’ benefits by an average of $1,000 per month, or $11,000 annually.

A copy of the letter can be found here, and text can be found below:

September 17, 2019

 

The Honorable Adam Smith                                             The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Chairman                                                                           Ranking Member

Committee on Armed Services                                         Committee on Armed Services

2216 Rayburn House Office Building                              2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                                    Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable James Inhofe                                           The Honorable Jack Reed

Chairman                                                                           Ranking Member

Committee on Armed Services                                         Committee on Armed Services

228 Russell Senate Office Building                                 228 Russell Senate Office Building        

Washington, DC 20515                                                    Washington, DC 20515   

 

Dear Chairman Smith, Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Thornberry, and Ranking Member Reed,

As you begin deliberations for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 conference, we respectfully request you keep the House-passed repeal of the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset, also known as the “widow’s tax,” in the final agreement. Surviving families of the men and women of our military have been waiting for a fix to this unfair offset for 40 years.

Current law unfairly requires surviving spouses of deceased military members to forfeit part or all of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 60,000 surviving families are negatively impacted by the SBP-DIC offset, which reduces surviving spouses’ benefits by an average of $924 per month, or $11,000 annually. The House-passed NDAA eliminated this unfair offset.

It is clear that Congress understands the importance of this issue and the need to finally end the widow’s tax. The two pieces of legislation repealing this offset have a record number of bipartisan cosponsors. H.R. 553, The Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act currently has 372 cosponsors, and the companion legislation S. 622 has 75 cosponsors.

Our nation made promises to the surviving spouses of fallen service members, and it is among our highest moral responsibilities to see those promises honored. For far too long, Congress has failed to do what's right and keep our word to our heroes and their families. Now is the time to repeal this offset once and for all, and send a clear message to those families that we value their sacrifice and we value the heroism of their loved ones.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. We hope we can count on your support.

Sincerely,

                                                             John Yarmuth

                        Lori Trahan                                          C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

                        Donald S. Beyer, Jr.                              Val Demings

                        Chris Pappas                                        Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.

                        Debbie Dingell                                     TJ Cox

                        Harley Rouda                                       Eleanor Holmes Norton

                        Ed Perlmutter                                       Brian Higgins

                        Steve Cohen                                         Mike Thompson (CA)

                        Gerald E. Connolly                               Jason Crow

                        Mike Doyle                                          Ruben Gallego

                        Peter Welch                                          Ann Kirkpatrick

                        Terri A. Sewell                                     Andy Kim

                        Bobby L. Rush                                     Anthony G. Brown

                        Cynthia Axne                                       Scott Peters

                        Juan Vargas                                         Scott DesJarlais, M.D.

                        James P. McGovern                              Vicente Gonzalez

                        Veronica Escobar                                 Brian Fitzpatrick

                        John Curtis                                           Greg Stanton

                        Deb Haaland                                        Alan Lowenthal

                        Jim Costa                                             Peter A. DeFazio

                        Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.                           Elaine G. Luria

                        Kurt Schrader                                       Roger Williams

                        Tulsi Gabbard                                      Mike Kelly

                        Linda T. Sánchez                                  Lisa Blunt Rochester

                        Debbie Mucarsel-Powell                       G. K. Butterfield

                        Ben Ray Luján                                     Lucille Roybal-Allard

                        Sean Patrick Maloney                           Alcee L. Hastings

                        Jerrold Nadler                                      Mark Takano

                        Jerry McNerney                                    Randy K. Weber

                        Josh Harder                                          Derek Kilmer

                        Bonnie Watson Coleman                      David Trone

                        Pete Olson                                            Al Lawson

                        Katie Hill                                             Xochitl Torres Small

                        Daniel W. Lipinski                               Haley M. Stevens

                        Julia Brownley                                     Jennifer Wexton

                        Jeff Van Drew                                      Raja Krishnamoorthi

                        Bill Foster                                            Diana DeGette

                        Chellie Pingree                                     Albio Sires

                        Louie Gohmert                                     Ted Budd

                        Susan Wild                                           Max Rose

                        Cedric L. Richmond                             Sylvia R. Garcia

                        Tom R. Suozzi                                     Eddie Bernice Johnson

                        Raúl M. Grijalva                                   Jared Golden

                        Steve Watkins                                      Kelly Armstrong

                        Dina Titus                                            Ross Spano

                        Rodney Davis                                      Betty McCollum

                        Buddy Carter                                        Conor Lamb

                        Joe Neguse                                           Ron Wright

                        Sharice L. Davids                                 Dean Phillips

                        Peter King                                            Bill Pascrell, Jr.

                        Colin Allred                                         Joseph P. Kennedy, III

                        Don Bacon                                           Al Green

                        Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.                           Bill Johnson

                        Michael Cloud                                     Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

                        Tom McClintock                                  Gus Bilirakis

                        Stephen F. Lynch                                 Lee Zeldin

                        Mark Green                                          Doris O. Matsui

                        Mike Levin                                          Dan Crenshaw

                        Salud Carbajal                                      Lucy McBath

                        Don Young                                          Ted S. Yoho, DVM

                        Emanuel Cleaver, II                              Danny K. Davis

                        David N. Cicilline                                Jan Schakowsky

                        Darren Soto                                          Sean Casten

                        Tom O'Halleran                                    Greg Gianforte

                        Suzan K. DelBene                                Ben McAdams

                        Stephanie Murphy                                Kathy Castor

                        Robert C. “Bobby” Scott                       Ro Khanna

                        French Hill                                           Angie Craig

                        Jahana Hayes                                       Dwight Evans

                        Antonio Delgado                                  Scott R. Tipton

                        Henry Cuellar                                      Rick Crawford

                        Gregory W. Meeks                               Grace Meng

                        Rashida Tlaib                                       Mark Meadows

                        Ralph Norman                                      David B. McKinley, P.E.

                        Alex X. Mooney                                   Barry Loudermilk

                        Steve King                                           André Carson

                        Joaquin Castro                                     Mario Diaz-Balart

                        Denver L. Riggleman, III                      Anna G. Eshoo

                        A. Donald McEachin                            Mary Gay Scanlon

                        Cheri Bustos                                        Donna E. Shalala

                        Dave Loebsack                                     Jack Bergman

                        Doug Lamborn                                     Bill Flores

                        Denny Heck                                         Lloyd Doggett

                        Jesús G. “Chuy” García                        Ann McLane Kuster

                        Norma J. Torres                                    Abigail D. Spanberger

                        Pramila Jayapal                                    Charlie Crist

                        Brendan F. Boyle                                 Brad Sherman

                        Katie Porter                                          Abby Finkenauer

                        Elissa Slotkin                                       Susie Lee

 

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