Saying that it should be a national priority, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith introduced legislation to improve benefits for veterans, military retirees and active personnel.

“The men and women who have served our country deserve fair and just compensation for all that they have sacrificed for America,” Smith said. “I am very proud to introduce legislation that will help move Congress towards better treatment of our military personnel, veterans, and retirees.”

The Enhancement of Military Benefits Act (EMBA) would do four important things:

  • Provide a 4.8% pay increase for all military personnel; 
  • Increase the Survivor Benefit Plan to allow surviving spouses of retirees 55% of spouse pay instead of just the current 35%; 
  • Allow military retirees to opt into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; 
  • Expand Medicare subvention from a pilot program to a universal program so that all veterans and retirees can take advantage of Medicare subvention 

“This bill will provide critical health care benefits for our retirees and veterans, a much-needed pay raise to the men and women currently serving in the Armed Forces, and additional benefits to surviving spouses,” explained Smith. 

Smith argues that improved treatment of personnel, retirees and veterans is not only the right thing to do, but is critical to our national security. “If we want to continue leading the world in military power, we have to have the best Armed Services,” he said. “Young people won’t consider the military an attractive career choice, especially in this strong economy, if they see servicemen and their families on food stamps or they see promises we made to our veterans and retirees broken. This needs to be one of Congress’s top priorities.”