While seen as encouraging bipartisanship, some worry about unintended consequences
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is a supporter of the consensus calendar but does not want it to be used to get around other procedural rules like PAYGO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Joe Wilson was the first member to take advantage of a new House rule designed to bring broadly supported bipartisan bills to the floor. The South Carolina Republican’s legislation to end the so-called widow’s tax received a vote Friday, but it was not the vote he envisioned.
Wilson’s bill, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, would end a disparity between government payments made to surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty. The “widow’s tax,” as the current complication in the law is known, requires the surviving spouses to forfeit much of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs by deducting from the former the value of the latter.