H.R.553 - Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act. More than 70% of both the House and Senate support this legislation, but it’s failed in the past four Congresses. Will this time be different? Francis Scott Key Post 11 believes that with a grassroots lobby effort it will. The post has lobbied Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Secretary George Owings Jr. III of Maryland Veteran Affairs to implore Congressman Steny Hoyer to co-sponsor this bill. He is the only Maryland legislator who has not signed on this legislation. Hoyer is the Majority Leader and Democratic Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also a co-chair on the committee where this bill is currently. His national press officer stated to WUSA TV in May 2019 that "Congressman Hoyer doesn't typically sponsor legislation that is not based on local issues."
Supporters argue that government bureaucracy shouldn’t deprive grieving military spouses of much-needed financial support. “It is absolutely unacceptable that our federal government refuses to pay the widows and widowers of our nation’s heroes the full benefits they are entitled to, especially those benefit plans for which they have voluntarily paid into,” Sen. Jones said in a press release. “No surviving spouse should be faced with this unexpected and completely unfair cut to the benefits they count on in these tragic circumstances,” Jones continued. “This is a tax on military families who have already sacrificed so much. We are going to work to right this wrong.”
SAL Squadron 11 Josh Marks has been working closely with Becky Larsen of ALA Legislative in the lobby effort. They would welcome assistance from all posts. They can be reached on the ALA Legislative Facebook page.
Francis Scott Key Post 11 is the largest and one of the oldest posts in the great state of Maryland.