WASHINGTON — Families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would receive a $12,000 death payment -- double the current benefit and tax-free -- under a bill the House passed unanimously Wednesday.
The payment would apply to soldiers killed after Sept. 10, 2001. The goal is to help families defray the immediate costs of funerals.
"It's unconscionable to me that a knock on the door by a military chaplain is followed by a knock on the door from the tax man," said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas). "Sadly, this is the case."
"This is long overdue," Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) said.
The House and Senate passed several bills granting various tax benefits to military personnel and reservists this year. The bills all differed, however, and lawmakers have been unable to reconcile their differences.