Houston Chronicle: Texans would give combat tax breaks to soldiers who fight Ebola

A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers in Washington is introducing legislation that would extend combat tax benefits to troops performing humanitarian services to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The Operation United Assistance Tax Exclusion Act was introduced in the House by El Paso Democrat Beto O’Rourke, along with Texas Republicans John Carter and Roger Williams.

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz filed companion legislation in the Senate, with fellow Texan John Cornyn signing on as a co-sponsor.

“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,” Cruz said. “Congress should give these service members the appropriate recognition and respect for their service in times of grave danger.”

The bills would compensate members of the armed services who are deployed to fight Ebola, like those from Fort Bliss in El Paso, as if they were sent to any other combat zone. The benefit would be limited to those who are required to undergo a 21-day quarantine.

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