Just in time for Memorial Day, one member of Congress is delivering some good news to members of the armed services.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Norfolk may be a freshman. But over the course of the last week, she’s been able to score two major victories in the House. One was a bill to provide a cost of living increase for veterans. The other was creating tax relief for Gold Star families, correcting what she says was a mistake in the 2017 tax cuts.
“In that tax code it counted income for children of survivors," Luria says. "So the survivor benefits of some families decided to allocate that to the child of someone who is either deceased, on active duty or as the result of a service related disability. And that was being taxed at 37%.”
Luria’s bill to remove that language from the tax code was incorporated into a bill reforming the country’s retirement system. That bill passed the House, as did Luria’s bill providing a cost-of-living increase for veterans.
Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says these are the kind of victories she’s going to need in a swing district.
“She’s in one of the most competitive districts in Virginia," he explains. "And so she needs to be able to go to voters and say, ‘I’m doing my job. I’m doing what I supposed to be doing. I’m looking out for the district. I’m looking out for the constituency of my district.’”
Luria says the next order of business in Congress will be pressing for benefits to Vietnam-era Navy veterans, making sure they receive the same benefits as other Vietnam vets.