House of Representatives Passes Congresswoman Escobar’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020
Washington, December 8, 2020
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a vote of 400-1 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 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 and point of contact 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 and point of contact with the Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division of the DOJ to prosecute fraud; and serving as the liaison and point of contact with other components of the DOJ as needed to support the enforcement of other federal laws that protect servicemembers and veterans.
“Our servicemembers and veterans have served our country and defended the freedoms we enjoy each day and we must do everything to protect them,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “With today’s passage of the bipartisan Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act, we are a step closer from enabling the Department of Justice to coordinate with the Department of Defense to shield these courageous men and women from abuses such as fraud, predatory lending, and other fraudulent schemes. I urge the Senate to stand with us in our effort to protect servicemembers, veterans, and their families and pass this legislation as soon as possible.”
Congresswoman Escobar introduced this bipartisan legislation on September 23, 2020 alongside Congressman Van Taylor (TX-03) and it was endorsed by Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans Education Success, and Student Veterans of America. The legislation was advanced by the Judiciary Committee on September 29, 2020. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced companion legislation on November 19, 2020.
Ahead of the bill’s passage, Congresswoman Escobar delivered remarks in support of the legislation and presided over debate. Click here to watch the full video. To view the bill text, click here and to view the section-by-section, click here.