WASHINGTON – Monday, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Elaine Luria’s Virginia Beach Strong Act, a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for the families of the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting to receive urgently-needed financial support.
“May 31, 2019, was a day that has forever changed Virginia Beach, and we will always remember the 12 wonderful people we lost that day,” Congresswoman Luria said. “In the immediate aftermath of our community’s darkest hour, we experienced a selfless outpouring of financial support for grieving families. I am thankful the House has advanced my effort to help families of victims receive the financial assistance they need.”
After the shooting, the City of Virginia Beach established a fund to help victims, survivors and their families. Due to a technicality in the definition of charitable beneficiaries in the tax code, donations to this fund will likely not be considered tax-deductible without congressional action.
The Virginia Beach Strong Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would ensure that donations to the immediate family members of victims of the mass shooting are tax-deductible. It would apply retroactively, making any contribution on or after May 31, 2019, tax-deductible.
Before the vote, Luria spoke on the House floor. Below is the entire transcript of her remarks:
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Today, I rise in support of my bipartisan and bicameral bill, H.R. 4566, the Virginia Beach Strong Act.
Just over six months ago, our Virginia Beach community suffered a devastating tragedy. On May 31, 12 wonderful people lost their lives in a mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
During our great city’s darkest hour, we showed the world the strength and resolve that makes us Virginia Beach Strong. We saw first responders heroically running into Building 2 – sacrificing their safety to save others, doctors working long hours to provide victims with expert care, and many other displays of courage.
May 31, 2019, was a day that will change Virginia Beach forever. We will always remember the 12 individuals we lost that day and their irreplaceable contributions to our Virginia Beach Strong community. My heart continues to grieve for those who lost their lives, their families, and everyone who loved them.
Today, many families of the victims are still facing financial hardships related to the shooting, in addition to the unfathomable loss of a loved one. In the aftermath of May 31, the City of Virginia Beach established a fund to help victims, survivors, and their families. Unfortunately, a technicality in the tax code means that these donations will likely not be considered tax-deductible. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Virginia Beach Strong Act.
The Virginia Beach Strong Act would make it easier to help bring urgently-needed support to our community’s grieving families. This bipartisan bill would ensure that all donations made to immediate family members of the victims on or after May 31 will be considered tax-deductible. It is narrowly written so it does not make any broader changes to the tax code or the qualifications for 501(c) status.
Today, we all have the opportunity to make a profound difference for families that have been through unimaginable pain following the Virginia Beach mass shooting. I want to thank my colleagues within the Virginia delegation for their support and I urge all my colleagues in to vote for H.R. 4566, the Virginia Beach Strong Act, and yield back. Thank you.