DAVMF Update on Federal/State Legislation—Oct. 2023

The Democrats Abroad Veterans and Military Families Caucus (DAVMF) continues to pay close attention to various military- and veterans-related bills pending in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures. As of October 2023, DAVMF, after performing close scrutiny of bill text, has formally endorsed nine pieces of legislation. 

Bills DAVMF Strongly Supports:

  • H.R.5299, the Earned Benefits Equality and Family Reunification Act, is a bill to create a pilot program that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to use their benefits overseas. 

  • S.2649, the Making Community Care Work for Veterans Act. This bill includes provisions to study and assess the health care of U.S. veterans residing in the Philippines.

  • H.R.4569, the Veteran Service Recognition Act, is a bill to provide repatriation opportunities to eligible deported veterans.

  • S.1090, the GI Bill Foreign Institution Electronic Payments Act, is a bill to require the VA to update its electronic payment system to accommodate transactions with student veterans abroad and their foreign schools.

  • H.R.11 / S.1, the Freedom to Vote Act, is a bill encompassing several democratic reforms, including efforts to combat voter intimidation and suppression and strengthening vote by mail methods.

  • H.R.1255, the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act, is a bill to extend earned VA benefits to the surviving spouses and dependents of Black U.S. servicemembers who participated in WWII.

  • H.R.1277 / S.596, the Military Spouse Hiring Act, is a bill to broaden employers’ potential to hire spouses of U.S. servicemembers.

  • S.2197, the Supporting Military Voters Act, is a bill which would require a GAO study to examine and identify improvements for U.S. servicemembers and their families.

  • HB4210, in the Michigan State Legislature, is a bill to allow for electronic ballot return for military spouses and dependents of Active Duty servicemembers, including those based overseas.

Other Bills We Are Continuing To Review and Monitor:

  • H.R.4262, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) Online Act. This bill would allow for veterans' family members who live abroad to apply electronically for CHAMPVA (health insurance).

  • H.R.5812, the No Glory for Hate Act. This bill, aimed at former President Trump, would prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for any monument or memorial for any “twice impeached president,” in addition to prohibiting funds to pay for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

  • H.R.5432, the Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act, is a bill which would create a simplified tax return form to help make it easier for Americans filing from abroad who owe no U.S. tax; eliminate double taxation for pensions and retirement distributions (including Social Security benefits), scholarships, fellowship grants, disability benefits, childcare expenses, family medical leave, and unemployment benefits; and consolidate the FBAR into FATCA, increasing the filing threshold, and eliminating the requirement to report to FinCEN.

  • H.R.4366 / S.2127, the Military Construction, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024, is one of the twelve annual appropriations bills addressed by Congress which funds ABMC, the VA, and all of its programs.

  • H.R.2670, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, is an annual congressional bill giving guidance on the policies and funding of defense agencies.

  • H.Res.642, a resolution recognizing the patriotism and contributions of veterans service organizations, veteran advocacy groups, and volunteers.

  • S5729 / A5280, a bill in the New York State Assembly to authorize the electronic submission of absentee ballots for military voters (Senate version) and those with a print disability (Assembly and Senate versions).

If any DAVMF member has a question, comment, or suggestion regarding the above bills or any other matter, please feel free to contact us anytime: [email protected].

As a reminder, any UOCAVA voter (in simple terms – any U.S. service member, military spouse or dependent, or civilian living abroad) is encouraged to visit https://www.votefromabroad.org/  in order to check your voting status, register to vote, request your ballot to be sent to you, and more.