The U.S. Senate on Thursday night voted unanimously to pass legislation extending a provision of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) that protects active duty servicemembers from losing their homes.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), extends through 2017 the provision of the SCRA that safeguards active duty servicemembers against foreclosure for one year following the completion of their service in the field as they transition to civilian life.
“Some of the men and women who’ve served our country need time to find their financial footing as they leave active service. They should get it,” Whitehouse said. “Our servicemembers keep us safe from all manner of threats around the globe. It’s the least we can do to keep them and their families safe from foreclosure as they transition back to civilian life. I’ll keep fighting to make these protections permanent, but I’m pleased we’ve reached a unanimous, bipartisan agreement on a two-year extension.”
Whitehouse has fought for years to protect the rights of servicemembers who are homeowners. The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves submitted a report in 2008 that prompted Congress to extend foreclosure protection from 90 days to nine months under the SCRA later that year. The period was extended further to one year in 2012 as part of a bill introduced by Whitehouse.
Another bill introduced by Whitehouse in May 2014 extended the one-year grace period until January 1, 2016. That bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014. In April 2015, Whitehouse introduced a bill that would make foreclosure protection for active servicemembers permanent.
“Some of the men and women who’ve served our country need time to find their financial footing as they leave active service. They should get it.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
The current one-year safeguard is set to expire at the end of 2015, at which time the grace period will revert to its original 90 days.
“America’s servicemembers and their families make enough sacrifices for our country. Their homes should not be one of those sacrifices,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee and co-sponsor of the bill. “This bill will help ensure that America’s servicemembers don’t face the threat of eviction or foreclosure when they return from active duty.”