December 20, 2018

Warren Applauds Historic Legislation to Benefit Veterans, Servicemembers, Gold Star Families

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released the following statement applauding the omnibus legislation passed today in the Senate, the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act, which contains important provisions for veterans, servicemembers, and their families, including spouses whose loved ones died in the line of duty:

 “My three big brothers served in our military, so I know first-hand how veterans, servicemembers, and their families make immense sacrifices to keep us safe. The omnibus legislation we passed in the Senate today will help us honor veterans’ service to our country by extending new protections to Gold Star families, student veterans, and veterans who owe debts to the VA. This is an important step, but we’ve got to keep fighting for more accountability at the VA, so that no one who serves our country gets left behind.”

The Veterans Benefits and Transition Act moving to the President’s desk today will enact two bipartisan bills introduced by Senator Warren, including: 

1. The Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act: a bill introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to modify the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to allow a widow or widower of a servicemember who died while in military service, also known as a Gold Star Spouse, to terminate a jointly held residential lease, without penalty, within one year of the servicemember's death. This protection will also extend to the widow or widower of a member of the National Guard or Reserve whose death occurred while on active duty orders

2. The Servicemembers Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress (SIT-REP) Act: a bill introduced with Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) to prohibit a college, university, or training program participating in the G.I. Bill from adopting a policy that imposes a late fee on eligible student veterans, denies them access to school facilities (such as classrooms and libraries), or requires them to take out additional loans due to delayed processing by the VA of a G.I. Bill benefit payment directly to the school.  

The bill also enacts modified text of a bipartisan bill that Senator Warren co-sponsored, known as the Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act, which will require the VA to work with veterans’ advocacy groups to develop a standard letter to send to veterans who owe debts to the VA and an option to receive that correspondence in electronic and paper formats.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Warren is a strong advocate for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. In addition to today’s passage of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act, key provisions of other Warren bills to protect veterans have become law this year, such as her bipartisan legislation to protect veterans from scam artists and to address the mental health needs of women veterans.