08.01.08

Burr, Clinton Bill Will Help Charitable Donations Reach Wounded Warriors

Bill cuts red tape out of gift acceptance rules for wounded warriors

Today, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced the Friends of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008. This legislation will make it easier for wounded warriors to receive charitable gifts by allowing Commanders of Wounded Warrior Battalions to accept and administer those gifts on behalf of the soldiers in their units. By streamlining the gift-acceptance process, it will allow for sick and wounded servicemembers to more quickly receive the charitable donations given to them, and not subject them to unnecessary hurdles.

"The men and women of our nation's military have made tremendous sacrifices in order to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and this bill represents one small way we can say 'thank you'," Burr said. "Americans rightfully are appreciative of our men and women in uniform and there is no reason it should be difficult for them to show their support for our nation's defenders."

"Our wounded warrior units are facing the extraordinary challenge of helping injured servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan recover and rehabilitate. We should do everything we can to make sure they have the equipment and resources needed and this is a common sense step toward making sure that goal is achieved," said Senator Clinton.

Each branch of America's armed services has specific units that administer to the needs of seriously wounded and ill service personnel. The Marines and the Army have established Wounded Warrior Battalions and Warrior Transition Units to assist these servicemembers as they receive medical treatment. Due to outdated gift-acceptance rules, charitable donations to these soldiers and marines go unused for extensive periods of time as the approval paperwork slowly works its way through a complicated, bureaucratic process. In recent years, many local communities and private citizens have tried to contribute gifts, such as rehabilitation equipment, to help our wounded warriors in their recovery.

The Friends of Wounded Warriors Act would put an end to the complicated gift-acceptance process. Current rules require high-level officials to authorize gifts of only a few thousand dollars, often delaying the acceptance of even small gifts for months. This legislation will streamline the process at Wounded Warrior Battalions by empowering the commanders of those units with the authority to accept gifts of up to $100,000. The provisions are drafted to give the Department of Defense latitude in deciding how to ensure that commanders of Wounded Warrior Battalions use their greater gift-acceptance authority responsibly and efficiently.