Tester, Moran Bill to Expand Protections for Military Families Impacted by COVID-19 Heads to President’s Desk

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

(U.S. Senate) – The House passed bipartisan legislation today from Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and provide additional legal protections for members of the military impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senators’ legislation expands SCRA protections to servicemembers who were previously issued orders to change duty stations but, due to the pandemic, received a stop movement order and may have a housing or car lease in two different locations.

“Both chambers of Congress worked quickly to pass our bipartisan bill to expand legal and consumer protections for our nation’s servicemembers,” said Ranking Member Tester. “When our military families are called on to relocate to posts around the world, we have a responsibility to ensure their transitions are as smooth as possible. I thank Chairman Moran for partnering with me on this commonsense legislation that will support military families and ensure that the men and women serving our country get the assistance they’ve earned.”

“As we face a global pandemic, military families are being impacted by orders to stay at their current assignment after they previously received change in duty station orders and made plans to move,” said Chairman Moran. “I am pleased the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance the legislation, that Ranking Member Tester and I introduced, to the president, which will expand SCRA benefits by providing much needed assistance and additional legal protection for military families who have housing and car lease commitments in two locations.”

This legislation was cosponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

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 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, 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 Senators’ bill can be found HERE.