Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a press event on the eve of passing legislation to fix drastic tax hikes for military survivors and families imposed by the Republican tax law, following the lead of Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. As our friends are coming in, let me welcome our friends from the American Legion, the Association of the United States Army, the Association of the United States Navy, our Gold Star Wives – our stars today – our Iraq and Afghan Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Special Ops Survivors, Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Vets of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Federal Bar Association. Thank you all very much for being here and making this very special day possible.
I thought I would have a little tempo of the grassroots right here in the leadership of our veterans and military service organizations. Thank you so much.
Now that we are all gathered, we have some very special guests here. Cheryl Lankford and Gabby Kubinyi, looking forward to hearing from you. We are so honored to have Cheryl and Gabby. We are blessed and humbled by your strength in telling your stories. Thank you for your service and kindness.
Thanks to our veteran and service organizations for your support; to our Chairman of our Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Richie Neal; our Chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee, where this issue looms large, Mark Takano; Congresswoman Luria who is responsible for bringing us all together today. We are honored that we are also joined by Mike Thompson – you will be hearing from some of these folks momentarily.
Some of our colleagues – Dean Phillips is here from Minnesota, and Congressman Stanton from Arizona is with us and others will be coming and going to join their freshman colleague who is passing legislation on the Floor of the House in such a short period of time since she came here.
On Monday, as you all know, we will mark Memorial Day honoring the service and sacrifice of our heroes in uniform. On that day and all days, we reaffirm our sacred duty to never forget them and to support their families.
Sadly, the tax bill that was passed – the GOP tax bill had many flaws, but it also inflicted an unfair, unexpected tax increase on the benefits of nearly 7,000 surviving children. Can you imagine that?
It is outrageous and unacceptable children that have survived so much are now forced to pay thousands of additional dollars in taxes on their benefits.
Tomorrow, the House will pass a bipartisan, urgently-needed fix. We salute Chairwoman – she is a Chairwoman in addition to being the author of legislation passing on the Floor, she is a Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs – for her leadership.
We simply cannot stand by and these families sacrifice again, twice.
Democrats are honored to stand by the families, children and loved ones of our nation’s fallen heroes. You’ve heard us all say it again and again: on the battlefield we leave no veteran behind, when they come home, we leave no one behind – the battlefield, we leave no solider behind, when they come home, we leave no veteran behind. And when they are not with us and even when they are, we do not leave their families behind.
So, God bless all of you. God bless America. Now, we are going to hear from a champion of our servicemen and women and veterans and a member of a military family herself, a person who has been in service to our country in a very substantial way, so impressive in the military, so impressive in the Congress, Chairwoman Luria of Virginia.
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Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Representative Thompson. Representative Thompson, we are blessed because he is a combat veteran himself, but he is also a Member of the Ways and Means Committee so he know of what he spoke. I certainly hope that what you said, Represenatives Thompson, that was this was an unintended consequence – $500 million is a lot of money – sounds like there was some intention to get money there to cover some of their other tax cuts. But let’s give everybody the benefit of the doubt and we will see by their votes and the signature and how fast it comes, how intended or unintended that was.
I just want to acknowledge another special guest. We have Kristy DiDomenico with her daughter, Fiona, age five, guest of Gabby. Thanks for bringing them. Fiona was so impressed by our conversation here, she decided to sleep on it.
In any event, Kristy is a surviving spouse – I heard her story earlier. And all of the stories speak so eloquently to the value that we place on the families of the fallen and to all of our veterans. So thank you, Congresswoman Luria, for bringing your experience as a veteran yourself, a Member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, now a Chair of a Subcommittee and an author of legislation that will hopefully soon be the law of the land, signed by the President of the United States.
Thank you all for the role that you played in all of this. I just want to mention we have been joined by Congresswoman Jahana Hayes from Connecticut, a freshmen Member joining her colleague here. Thank you all very much.