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Womack, Kildee Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Tax on Military Families

Washington, DC—April 4, 2023…. Recognizing the importance of supporting America’s military families, Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), and Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-8), introduced legislation to eliminate the tax burden on Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) payments. The bipartisan bill ensures service members keep the full benefits they have earned as they serve our nation.

Congressman Steve Womack said, “Taxing support meant to help the most vulnerable undermines the purpose. BNA should be treated like other military benefits outside of earned income, which is exactly what this bill prescribes. This allowance is a ‘combat multiplier.’ With reduced financial pressure at home, our troops can better focus on performance and defense. I am committed to supporting our men and women in uniform.”

Congressman Dan Kildee said, “Our men and women in uniform represent the best of this country, and deserve to receive the full value of their military benefits. The Basic Needs Allowance, which helps support thousands of servicemembers and their families, is not income and should not be subject to income taxes. I’m proud to work across the aisle with my friend Steve Womack on this commonsense legislation to provide a tax cut for our servicemembers and military families.”

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Arkansas Council of Chapters President LCDR, USN, Ret. John R. Rickard said, "We have an obligation to support our men and women in uniform who have sacrificially volunteered for military service. They are dedicated and committed to protect and defend our United States of America and the rights and freedoms we so cherish. We, in turn, should do our absolute best to ensure that their basic needs are adequately provided! Inflation is on the rise, staple food prices are elevated, and the financial stresses of deployments, transfers, and high military spouse unemployment all add up to a negative strain on their income. MOAA Arkansas is proud to support this bipartisan bill, which directly aids food security for our troops by ensuring they can count on the full value of their basic needs allowance. The legislation demonstrates a commitment to America's service members and their loved ones, and we thank Congressman Womack for his work."

The proposal specifically amends the tax code to exclude BNA benefits from taxable income. This rightfully puts BNA in line with the tax status of other military benefits, including Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence. Exempting BNA funds provided to eligible military families further supports their ability to purchase groceries and be food secure. It’s another step in alleviating financial burdens and ensuring those serving and protecting our nation can better focus on their mission. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the change would impact over 3,000 military families.

The bipartisan bill is supported by four original cosponsors, including Congressmen Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Rob Wittman (VA-1), Brad Winstrup (OH-2), and Matt Gaetz (FL-1). 

Read more about BNA and the Congressmen’s efforts in Military Times here.

Read the text of the bill here.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.