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Financial protection for military spouses championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren passed in Senate defense bill

Senator Elizabeth Warren at a rally. (Edward Kimmel/Flickr)

The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, to expand financial protection for families of killed or seriously injured service members.

“Military families are middle class families who make incredible sacrifices in service to our country. We must do our part to make sure they have the resources and support they need,” Warren said in a statement. “I’m thankful that the Senate has chosen to advance our bipartisan legislation to strengthen financial protections for Gold Star spouses and spouses of injured service members.”

The policy would help families who signed a lease on a car or home during a member’s military service, if the person serving dies or is injured.

Specifically, the legislation would allow the spouse of a service member who died during military service to terminate a car lease during the one-year period beginning the day the person died. It would apply to someone in regular military service, service for the National Guard, Reserve duty or training.

It would also allow the spouse of a service member who sustained a catastrophic injury or illness to terminate a residential lease or a car lease during the one-year period beginning on the date of the injury or illness.

The spouse of someone who dies during military service is already allowed to break a lease without penalties under an earlier bill sponsored by Warren and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, which was included in a 2018 veterans’ benefits bill.

The sponsors say these protections are necessary, since families often move because of a member’s military service, and could be stuck paying a penalty to break a lease on a car or a home if the person dies or is injured. The amendment is an expansion of existing protections that are already in federal law, which allow a service member to break a lease when they are deployed.

The amendment was included as part of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Warren was the prime sponsor. Senate cosponsors included Portman, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, and ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Jon Tester D-Montana.


© 2019 The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

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