Congress fails to provide fix for Gold Star family 'widow's tax' just in time for Memorial Day

Veterans Benefits

President Trump recognizes Gold Star families on Memorial Day, 2018.

(U.S. Army/Sgt. Amber Smith)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Congress fell short ahead of Memorial Day weekend, failing to pass legislation that would provide tax relief for the families of military personnel killed during their service.

Senators unanimously approved a version of the bipartisan Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act Tuesday sending it back to the House of Representatives, where it was tied to a retirement savings bill as an amendment, and passed Thursday.

When it got back to the Senate, the larger piece of legislation failed to pass and make its way to the President Trump's desk.


CNN identified Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as the lone member of the upper chamber of Congress who stopped a unanimous consent vote, because the larger bill did not provide for an expansion of a college savings plan to homeschooling expenses.

Had the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives not tied their version of the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act to the larger bill, it would've passed Congress, because of its identical language to the Senate version approved Tuesday.

Congress introduced the Gold Star Family Tax Act in early May following lawmakers realizing the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act led to an increase in taxes for those families.

According to the Office of Rep. Max Rose, relatives of fallen service members receive two forms of compensation to help them cope, with spouses of the fallen often signing over one form to their children to ensure more of the benefit is received.

Due to changes in the way children's assets are taxed, families that were obligated to pay 12 to 15 percent in taxes on such income saw their tax rate jump to 37 percent, according to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

"As we remember all of our fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend, it's critical that we also honor all the loved ones left behind," Rose, an Army veteran, said.

"So when the ultimate sacrifice is paid, making sure Gold Star Families receive the care and benefits they deserve without egregious tax hikes and headaches isn't only commonsense, it's the right thing to do," Rose stated.

———

©2019 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Gold Star Spouses Can Lose Financial Assistance If They Remarry, But Veterans In Congress Hope To Change That

Naval Air Station Pensacola provides security for the Active investigation area onboard NAS Pensacola December 9, 2019. (Navy photo/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Dan Mennuto)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Defense has released some information on its revamped approach to vetting and security concerns for foreign military students in the United States.

Some initial information came Friday, a few days before Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's visit to Naval Air Station Pensacola to discuss new vetting and security procedures with installation leadership.

The DoD began its review of those procedures following the Dec. 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola that left three people dead and eight others injured. The gunman, 21-year-old Saudi lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a flight student, was fatally shot by an Escambia County sheriff's deputy.

Read More

In a Galaxy — err, I mean, on a military base far, far away, soldiers are standing in solidarity with galactic freedom fighters.

Sitting at the top of an Army press release from March 2019, regarding the East Africa Response Force's deployment to Gabon, the photo seems, at first glance, just like any other: Soldiers on the move.

But if you look closer at the top right, you'll find something spectacular: A Rebel Alliance flag.

Read More

Three sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower have been charged in connection with the Dec. 17 brawl at a holiday party in Norfolk, Virginia, that was caught on video.

Read More
U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives for the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms, ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday amid Tehran's latest standoff with Washington.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as "ridiculous", telling reporters in Geneva it showed the "terrorist underpinnings" of Iran's establishment.

Read More
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2018)

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swiss officials foiled an apparent spying operation by Russians posing as plumbers in Davos, site of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, but police did not confirm key details of the account.

The report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said the two Russians were checked by Swiss police in August last year in the ski resort, which is hosting the WEF gathering of the global business and political elite this week. The pair presented diplomatic passports and left the country, the paper said.

Read More