Tester, Moran Introduce Legislation to Expand Protections for Military Families Impacted by COVID-19

Bipartisan legislation to expand the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide additional legal protections for military families during pandemic

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to provide additional legal protections for servicemembers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The SCRA provides legal protection to servicemembers to prevent them from being taken advantage of while on duty or deployed, and can postpone or suspend financial or civil obligations—including preventing foreclosures, evictions or repossession of a vehicle under the right circumstances. The Senators’ legislation expands SCRA protections to servicemembers who were previously issued orders to change duty stations but, due to the global pandemic, received a stop movement order and may have a housing or car lease in two different locations.

“When our military families are called upon to relocate to posts around the world in service to this nation, we have a responsibility to ensure their transitions are as smooth as possible,” said Ranking Member Tester. “For servicemembers facing two housing payments because they followed the military’s stop movement orders in response to the pandemic, this means we’ve got to provide them with legal and consumer protections. Our bipartisan proposal will expand protections under the SCRA to cover lease terminations, and provide much needed assistance for military families during this unprecedented time.”

“Our servicemembers and their families are often asked to pick up their lives and move around the world due to deployments or a change in duty station, and the SCRA provides military families with legal protections to help with these transitions,” said Chairman Moran. “As we face a global pandemic, military families are being impacted by orders to stay at their current duty station after they received orders and made plans to move. Our bipartisan legislation will help provide much needed assistant and additional legal protection for military families in this situation and therefore have lease commitments in two locations.”

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Tester has been leading the effort to ensure servicemembers and their families are not left to cover housing payments at their current duty station and at their intended Permanent Change of Station. Last week, he joined his House colleagues in calling on the Department of Defense to ease financial burdens facing servicemembers planning to relocate as a result of the stop movement order issued due to COVID-19.

A copy of the bill can be found HERE.