The Granite Slate
NH Counties

March 2004
Published quarterly for the information of members of the NH Chapter of MOAA 
P.O. Box 712, Dover, NH 03820
Volume 25, No. 1

SBP Amendment
Reprinted form MOAA’s Website
The House Budget Committee completed work on its version of the FY2005 Budget Resolution, but not without some controversy on MOAA's top legislative priority for the year.

The Committee ended up putting no specific budget authority in the resolution to end the "SBP widows tax" that cuts Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities for military survivors attaining age 62. But senior Republicans and Democrats on the committee each expressed their own brand of determination to support an SBP fix this year.

Committee Chairman Jim Nussle's (R-IA) plan establishes a "reserve fund" placeholder for a legislative SBP fix in the FY2005 Defense Authorization Act. But the Committee didn't identify any specific source of funding to cover the expected cost of the fix -- $498 million over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) then offered an amendment to specifically authorize budget headroom for the SBP fix. Under the rules of the minority leadership, he had to identify an offset to pay for the amendment, and his offset was to shave part of the Committee-proposed tax reduction for Americans with incomes over $1 million. The amendment 

was defeated on a party-line vote of 23 to 19 (view the vote on MOAA's Web site at
The Committee action disappoints MOAA on two counts. First, we're disappointed that, after all the input the Committee received on this issue, it wasn't deemed a high enough priority to receive specific budget authority in the "Chairman's mark." Second, we're disappointed that the Rep. Edwards' amendment, which MOAA and other military and veterans organizations strongly supported, was not adopted.
The Republicans on the Committee, led by Chairman Nussle, defended their votes against the amendment, saying that they support the SBP fix, but could not vote for the tax offset, which they saw as politically motivated. 
From MOAA's standpoint, almost every budget and legislative proposal offered by any legislator in a presidential election year is in part politically motivated -- including both the Chairman's mark and Rep. Edwards' amendment. Our very strong view is that, regardless of either party's other political priorities, we expect that both parties will make fair treatment for military widows a top funding priority this year. If one party doesn't like the offset the other proposes, then they need to find a mutually agreeable 
(Continued on page 6)

Chapter Officers
President LCDR Paul L. Bernard, USN (Ret) (603) 229-1334
Vice President LTC John A. Graham, USA (Ret) (603) 472-4637
Secretary MAJ Patricia A. Graham, USA (Ret) (603) 472-4637
Treasurer COL Richard L. Dennis, USMC (Ret) (603) 362-4981


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