WASHINGTON – Veteran Reps. Mark Green and Tulsi Gabbard introduced today the Protecting Gold Star Spouses Act of 2019. This bipartisan bill would allow Coast Guard Gold Star Spouses to continue receiving stipends via the Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) from the federal government during a lapse in appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security. This is the first piece of legislation Congressman Green has introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Gold Star families have suffered enough – they don’t need to be used as political pawns during games of partisan brinkmanship,” said Rep. Mark Green, a veteran who did tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “As a military veteran, I know many Gold Star families that have overcome devastating loss and adversity. The last thing they need is to worry whether or not they will receive their next check.”

Keeping with the tradition Congressman Green started when he was in the Tennessee Senate, his first bill is a pro-veteran bill.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Founder and Co-Chair of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus, said: “Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, with some paying the ultimate price, and their families sacrificing greatly. It is our solemn responsibility to honor them, support their families, and stand by them to ensure their families receive the benefits that they’ve earned. It’s a slap in the face to use our veterans and their families as political pawns. Our bipartisan legislation will ensure that Gold Star families won’t have to worry about whether or not they'll be able to afford to pay the rent or put food on the table in the event of a government shutdown.”

Current law does not protect all Coast Guard Gold Star Spouse benefits. This breaks the promise to our American heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty in the Coast Guard. This bill would protect Gold Star Spouses who are at risk during any upcoming or future shutdown.

“Shutdowns cause undue harm and stress for our military families. The VFW was glad when Congress moved last year to ensure survivors receive the death gratuity benefit under government shutdowns. We thank Congressman Mark Green for his leadership to make certain all military families are protected. What America’s Coast Guard does daily allows the rest of us to sleep easier at night. This bill would rightfully treat Coast Guard SBP benefits similar to the other military services,” said VFW National Legislative Service Director Carlos Fuentes.  

The Protecting Gold Star Spouses Act of 2019 will ensure America keeps the promises it made to its heroes. If signed into law, this bill will ensure that no SBP payment is ever missed.