WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the Senate’s unanimous vote this evening to pass legislation that he cosponsored to help protect members of the armed forces from foreclosure. The bill would extend through 2017 a provision that safeguards active duty servicemembers against losing their homes for one year following the completion of their service in the field.
“America’s servicemembers and their families make enough sacrifices for our country. Their homes should not be one of those sacrifices,” said Brown, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “This bill will help ensure that America’s servicemembers don’t face the threat of eviction or foreclosure when they return from active duty.”
The current one-year safeguard from foreclosure will expire at the end of 2015 and revert to the three-month protection that was originally enacted under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
In 2008, Congress first extended the period of foreclosure protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) from 90 days to nine months in response to a report by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. The report found that “the threat of foreclosure is a stressor that need not be placed on members of the armed forces during the first months of their return to civilian life.”
In December 2014, Congress extended the foreclosure protection until January 2016. Unless Congress acts by the end of this year, the period of foreclosure protection will revert back to just 90 days starting in 2016.
The SCRA provides for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and actions that may adversely affect servicemembers during military service. Key provisions include limiting the interest rate on debts incurred prior to a person's entry into active duty military service, prohibiting military families from being evicted from rental or mortgaged property; and prohibiting military families from having their life insurance cancelled or being taxed in multiple jurisdictions.
Brown has fought to protect the rights of America's servicemembers and their families. He is a cosponsor of the Military Families Credit Reporting Act, which would provide servicemembers the opportunity to notify credit reporting agencies of a military deployment and explain on their credit reports that late or missed payments were due to their deployments.
Brown, along with all of the Senate Banking Committee Democrats, introduced the Community Lender Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which would enhance enforcement of the SCRA by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Brown has also pressed the Education Department and Department of Defense to redouble efforts to ensure that servicemembers can manage their student loans.