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Sen. Cruz Bill to Aid Military Heroes Fighting Ebola Introduced in the House

Companion bill introduced by Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today announced that the Operation United Assistance Tax Exclusion Act, which provides that members of the Armed Forces performing hazardous humanitarian services to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa shall be entitled to appropriate tax benefits, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, filed the bipartisan companion legislation, H.R. 5804, in the House and it is co-sponsored by Texas Republican Reps. John Carter and Roger Williams. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has signed on as a co-sponsor of Cruz's Senate bill, S. 2965.

"Once our Armed Forces are placed in harm's way, Congress, and the Commander-in-Chief have a responsibility to support them and to provide security for the families who remain behind while they face danger," said Sen. Cruz. "The morbidity rate of Ebola poses a substantial danger to those who have been sent to combat it and, for the first time, this risk extends beyond the battlefield and directly threatens the safety of their families. Congress should give these service members the appropriate recognition and respect for their service in times of grave danger, and I am honored to work with Sen. Cornyn and Reps. O'Rourke, Carter and Williams on this legislation."

"There's no reason our troops serving in West Africa shouldn't be granted the same tax benefits as those in active duty combat," said Sen. Cornyn. "I'm pleased to team up with Sen. Cruz and my colleagues in the House on this important bipartisan effort for Texas military families."

"I have proposed this bipartisan bill as a way to support Service Members, like those from Fort Bliss, who are taking on the difficult and life-saving assignment to stem the Ebola epidemic in West Africa," said Rep. O'Rourke.

"Our soldiers who are at war fighting to eradicate Ebola are faced with an enemy unlike any other. Instead of bullets, our soldiers are fighting against a deadly invisible disease," said Rep. Carter. "This is a dangerous situation for them. I pray each day for their safety and health as they fight this new battle. If the President is going to put our sons and daughters in the middle of this war, then they need the full support of the nation. This bill will ensure our soldiers are taken care of back at home and are provided with the same benefits any combat soldier is afforded."

"Our all-volunteer troops go above and beyond to save and protect lives, both at home and abroad," said Rep. Williams. "With their involvement in the fight against Ebola, a different kind of enemy, it is appropriate and necessary to provide relief to these troops and their families just as they are providing relief to potentially thousands of West Africans. I thank my colleague, Sen. Cruz, for his leadership on this important issue."

Specifically, S. 2965 and H.R. 5804 compensate those who are performing the hazardous mission Operation United Assistance as if they were deployed to any other Executive Order-designated combat zone. The benefit shall only apply to service members who are required to undergo a 21-day quarantine. The text of the Senate version of the bill is here.