03.24.17

Daines Introduces Bipartisan Bicameral Bill to Save Servicemembers Money

GREAT FALLS, Mont. —At the Montana Enlisted Association of the National Guard this evening in Great Falls, U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) announced the introduction of a bipartisan bicameral legislation to ensure servicemembers aren’t unduly penalized when they serve their country.

Every month, guardsmen and reservists across the country travel hundreds of miles from their homes of record to their assigned duty location.  In most cases, these service members must bear the cost of their travel out-of-pocket.  Not only does the government not reimburse them, it sets an unreasonably high threshold for what can be claimed as a business-related expense. 

Daines’ bill restores guardsmen and reservists’ ability to deduct from their adjusted gross income mileage, meal, and lodging expenses incurred while traveling to/from their duty location, so that they aren’t taxed on the money they provide to supplement the cost of their military training.

The bill is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).

“Our guardsmen and reservists do enough for our country without having to shell out additional funds to pay for their training,” Daines stated. “This commonsense measure will ensure servicemembers aren’t penalized for serving their country.”

“Our hardworking and dedicated Members and Reservists of the National Guard sacrifice so much to be able to serve our country, often making extraordinary changes in their lives to travel long distances—sometimes even across state lines—for training,” said Poliquin. “We can’t expect these men and women to give up their time with family, but not provide them with the same tax treatment offered to other federal employees for their commutes. I’m proud to introduce this bicameral legislation to give our aNtional Guard Members the support they surely deserve.” 

The bill has wide support from Montana veterans:

Enlisted Association of the National Guard for Montana: “The soldiers and airmen of the Montana National Guard have long sacrificed by funding out-of-pocket expenses to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles, to attend training assemblies. This  legislation will go a long way in supporting the Montana National Guard maintain a strong and ready force and has the support of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard for Montana.”

Sergeant Major (Ret) Frank Yoakum, Executive Director, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States:  “Citizen-patriots of the National Guard bear a huge sacrifice in service to their country. In addition to balancing family obligations and civilian employment responsibilities with their military duties, they often must travel great distances at their own expense to attend drill and maintain combat proficiency. The cost of this travel needs to have parity with other federal benefits and this legislation will do just that. The Enlisted Association of the National Guard supports it wholeheartedly.” 

American Legion of Montana: “Members of the National Guard and Reserves make many sacrifices doing their duty for our Nation, and in the Guard’s case their state as well. Oftentimes they are given thanks verbally, but words do little to help their families and incomes. This legislation will provide them with additional benefits to make up for lost incomes for their families and themselves which must be spent on travel and lodging. In a state the size of Montana many miles are spent on the road at the service members expense getting to and from drill. The American Legion of Montana strongly encourages passage of this act.

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