Support for the Major Richard Star Act (H.R.1282 /S.344) has grown to over 60 in the Senate and 272 in the House. The Star Act would support over 50,300 combat-injured with concurrent receipt of service-earned retired pay for longevity and VA disability who are subject to an offset where their retirement pay is reduced for every dollar of VA disability received. Even with a majority of Senators in support, it faces an uphill battle to be included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with some Senators concerned about cost to the Defense Department. But our combat injured have paid a greater price and deserve fair compensation for their time in service and their lifelong injuries.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmakers to Support the Major Richard Star Act]
Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have long supported concurrent receipt legislation and the Star Act will be submitted, again, as an amendment to the Senate version of the NDAA. Submitting the Star Act has become an annual effort that started in the 116th Congress three years ago. The House this year again failed to vote in favor of the Star Act amendment, despite a majority of support as recently highlighted by Shepard Smith on CNBC [watch here: Disabled-veterans-feel-left-out-by-congress].
The Star Act would allow concurrent receipt of earned longevity pay and VA disability for our combat-injured. These individuals, often seriously disabled, are subject to an offset where their retirement pay is reduced for every dollar of VA disability received. In some cases, their retirement pay is completely eliminated.
To reduce DoD retirement pay for earned years of service because of a VA disability rating is an injustice and we will continue to build support for this long-term campaign.
The following Senators, at the time of this article, have not yet signed onto the Star Act and your calls and messages are needed to influence them to cosponsor S.344. Use MOAA’s Capital Hotline – 866-272-MOAA (6622) – a toll-free line to the U.S. Capitol switchboard, to connect with your legislators' offices.
Sen. Shelby and Sen. Tuberville
Florida (The 2nd most combat injured out of all 50 states)
Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott
Sen. Young and Sen. Braun
Sen. Grassley and Sen. Ernst
Sen. McConnell and Sen. Paul
Sen. Cassidy and Sen. Kennedy
Sen. Fischer and Sen. Sasse
North Carolina (The 3rd most combat injured out of all 50 states)
Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis
Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Langford
Sen. Blackburn and Sen. Hagerty
Texas (The most combat injured out of all 50 states)
Sen. Cruz and Sen. Cornyn
Sen. Lee and Sen. Romney
[Read more about reaching our goal: Star Act Advocacy Approaches Tipping Point]
Cost remains the stumbling block for supporting combat injured. Most Senators have not served in uniform or considered the impact on the all-volunteer force.
Servicemembers do not tell commanders they are concerned about cost when deploying to combat. Most are also unaware that the offset is a cost-savings measure on the backs of combat injured and not the ideal place to achieve savings.
Growing cosponsors to reach the goal of over 70 in the Senate and 290 in the House is required. It is a similar strategy that was successful for the repeal of the widows tax.
For more information on other advocacy initiatives, please visit MOAA’s Advocacy News page.
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