HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ effort to repeal the military widow's tax hit a snag Thursday.
"I tried to force a vote, really just push a vote out on a bipartisan bill to repeal the military widow's tax, which currently has a record high 75 cosponsors," Jones said during a conference call Thursday morning.
Jones, D-Alabama, said Senate leaders wouldn’t allow an amendment to the defense authorization bill they voted on today.
"Our sworn duty to military widows and spouses -- to not be able to get a vote on that is just unconscionable, it’s shameful," he said.
The so-called widow’s tax is related to two military spouse survivor benefits.
The survivor’s benefit plan is basically a life insurance policy that families pay into and in the event of a death, receive monthly payments.
And, if a military member dies in combat or dies later with a cause related to a service injury or illness, the surviving spouse will get monthly payments from the dependency and compensation fund.
But, if a widow gets both, the benefit plan payments are cut each month – by the amount they get from the compensation fund.
So, they are being denied the full benefits they would otherwise be entitled to receive.
Jones said today marked his most frustrating day in Congress.
"If we can’t fight for military widows who are having their survivor benefits shortchanged by their government, then who are going to fight for in the Congress?"
Jones said he’s talked to U.S. House leaders about bringing up his bill there. He said he’ll continue to push for the repeal on behalf of Gold Star families, whether it's as amendment on another bill or as a standalone measure.