February 20, 2024

Tax Relief for Working Parents

Hello Folks –

A lot has occurred since my last newsletter. Among other things, I was mistaken for a 64-year-old. In the reporter’s defense, he mistook me for Val Kilmer (which, honestly, is just kind of cool for me).

There’s also been some bipartisan activity in Washington, DC, so let’s get into the news!

Supporting Tax Relief for Working Parents

In my time as your representative, I’ve often said that a key priority of mine is to make the economy work better for folks from across our region. A couple of weeks ago, we made some progress on that front when House Democrats and House Republicans came together to pass a bipartisan tax bill. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act delivers on several longstanding priorities, including expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, supporting small businesses in our region, and more.


The last time Congress authorized the Child Tax Credit (in 2021), providing working families with up to $3,000 in tax relief per child for children ages 6-17 and $3,600 in tax relief for children under age 6, the move helped drive child poverty to a record low. So, extending this critical credit will make a real difference. In addition, the expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit will provide an important incentive for the development of new housing that people can afford.

Seeing this bill become law would be welcome relief for American families, so I’m hoping it will head to President Biden’s desk soon.

Championing America’s Veterans

As regular readers of this newsletter know, I firmly believe that if you serve this country, then the federal government should have your back. We’re lucky to have freedom in this country because of those who have served our nation. What’s more, we’re lucky to live in an area that so many veterans call home.

Our veterans deserve to have their communities rally behind them. They also deserve to have a representative and a government that rallies behind them as well. That’s why I hosted two veterans roundtables in Kitsap and Pierce counties earlier this month. These discussions are an opportunity for me to hear directly from local leaders and veterans on how Congress can improve services and support for our heroes. Veterans’ voices are crucial to bringing change.


At these meetings, we also discussed some of the work I’ve been doing for our region’s veterans. For example, I introduced the bipartisan Servicemembers Mental Health Improvement Act, a bill to require the Department of Development to develop a mental health strategy. This legislation will save lives, improve overall health within the military, and ensure that Congress is better able to support those who serve.

In addition, I introduced a bipartisan bill to include former members of the Reserves and Guard in the VA’s annual suicide report. We’ve seen an alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans that underscores a critical gap in our understanding and support of veterans – especially those whose wounds aren’t always visible. As a Co-Chair of the House Military Mental Health Task Force, I’m committed to including former members of the Reserves and National Guard in the VA’s annual suicide report to take a necessary step toward acknowledging and addressing this crisis. We owe it to every person who has served our nation in the armed forces, in any capacity, to ensure they receive the support they earned and deserve.

Additionally, I introduced a bill to give veterans better access to VA home loans and another to build supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, every brave servicemember should have a home.

And finally, in 2022, I cosponsored, and Congress passed the Honoring Our PACT Act. With this new law, the VA will cover health care and disability benefits for veterans who were exposed to airborne toxins, burn pits, radiation, and Agent Orange during their service and have since developed a toxin-exposure-related illness. That’s a major improvement that’s already helped hundreds of thousands of veterans so far.


Make no mistake, there’s still a lot of work to do. However, these roundtables with veterans have played a critical role in making a difference for those who served our country.

Supporting Independent Higher Education

Education is the door to opportunity. For many families, including mine, financial aid has been the key to that door. I’ve always been a champion of increasing access to education, which is one reason the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) awarded me the Award for Advocacy of Independent Higher Education at its 2024 annual meeting.

But this recognition isn’t about me. It’s about the transformative power of education that I’ve witnessed throughout my life. The education I received helped me learn about public service, gave me ideas for helping communities like my hometown, and opened doors to opportunity.

I’m grateful for the financial aid that made my college journey possible. That’s why I have been and continue to be a staunch advocate for PELL grants, Federal Work Study, and other Student Aid programs. These are lifelines for students across our nation, ensuring that education remains accessible for all who dare to dream. You can learn more about my award and work to support the cause of independent higher education here.

Working for You


Connecting with Tribal Students

I was honored to meet with students from Northwest Indian College earlier this month. Their powerful stories highlight the critical role of Tribal colleges and universities. Last year marked 40 years of NWIC and a remarkable 150 graduates in the class of 2023!

OK – that’s it for now, folks. As always, I’m honored to represent you.

Derek Kilmer
Derek Kilmer