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U.S. House Judiciary Committee Passes Congresswoman Escobar’s Bill to Protect Servicemembers and Veterans

Washington, D.C., September 29, 2020
Tags: Veterans
The Bipartisan Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020 Would Permanently Establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Within the U.S. Department of Justice

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee passed Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s (TX-16) bipartisan legislation to protect servicemembers, veterans, and their families.  

H.R. 8354, the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, was introduced on September 23, 2020, by Congresswoman Escobar and Congressman Van Taylor (TX-03) and would permanently establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This legislation would task certain duties to the DOJ to represent the legal interests of servicemembers, veterans, and their families such as serving as legal and policy advisor to the Attorney General; developing policy recommendations; serving as the liaison between the DOJ and the military departments; providing counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; consulting with DOJ components; serving as a liaison with the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division to prosecute fraud; and enforcing federal laws that protect servicemembers and veterans. The bill now awaits consideration on the House floor.

“El Paso is home to a strong and growing veterans community and to Fort Bliss – one of the largest Army installations in the world that trains soldiers from across the country – and one of my top priorities is to protect and serve military families and veterans in the same way they have served our country and defended the freedoms we enjoy each day,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed my bipartisan legislation to make it easier for the Department of Justice to coordinate with the Department of Defense to ensure that their needs are met and that they are protected from abuses such as fraud and predatory lending. I’m proud to co-lead this legislation with Congressman Taylor and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this crucial piece of legislation.”

“I’m pleased the House Judiciary Committee approved bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Escobar and I to help protect our veterans and service members,” said Congressman Taylor. “We owe a great deal to the courageous men and women who risk their lives to keep our country secure. Just as they fight to keep us safe, we must also work to protect our veterans and service members from those who wish to do them harm.”

“Our servicemembers and veterans have worked tirelessly to protect us, and it is only right that we work as hard as we can to protect them from abuses such as fraud, predatory lending, and other fraudulent schemes,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “By permanently establishing a Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act ensures that the Department can effectively address civil and criminal frauds against servicemembers and their families. I thank Representative Escobar for her leadership on this issue and for authoring this important legislation.”

View full markup debate of the legislation here. To view the bill text, click here and to view the section-by-section, click here.


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