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Panetta Statement on the Passage of the Gold Star Family Support Act

November 7, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) released the following statement in response to the unanimous passage of H.R. 3897, the Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act, which would fill in the gaps in current support law for Gold Star families. Congressman Panetta is a lead co-sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives:

“Supporting our veterans and their families is one of my most important duties as a Member of Congress. The loved ones whose husband, wife, father, or mother committed their lives to the military deserve a commitment from the military. This bill does just that by clarifying and extending access to military installations to surviving dependents and spouses, even if they remarry. As we recognize Veterans Day, I am proud that the House of Representatives has demonstrated its commitment to serving our Gold Star families.”

About the Gold Star Families Support Act

The Gold Star Families Support Act addresses installation access and use of already established benefits. This legislation will give immediate surviving spouse and children standardized access to Department of Defense installations of all services for the purposes of attending memorial services, unit ceremonies, and grave site visitation. In addition, extended family members will have access based on the Service Secretary discretion. The bill also addresses a loophole in benefits for surviving dependent children. If the surviving parent makes the decision to remarry, prior to this legislation, the surviving parent would lose both access to the installation and on-base services like the commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities. This bill closes that loophole to ensure that the children can receive the benefits they are entitled.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act was introduced by Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02) on October 2, 2017. It passed the House with 89 bipartisan cosponsors, including Congressman Panetta. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.