Today, Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) praised the passage of the 21st Century Servicemembers Protection Act, included in H.R. 3949, the Veterans Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers Protection Act of 2009, ensuring that returning veterans will more easily be able to connect with their friends and family upon returning home from overseas deployments.
The 21st Century Servicemembers Protection Act addresses the problems with telecommunications and utility companies that troops may experience after returning from overseas deployments. Servicemembers frequently have trouble suspending or breaking their contracts with cell phone companies or internet service providers, even if they present deployment orders.
Congressman Murphy's provisions in H.R. 3949 expand the existing Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to cover 21st century service contracts such as cellular phones, utilities, cable television, and internet access. The measure will allow troops with deployment orders to terminate their service contracts without fee or penalty, and provides them the opportunity to reconnect these services when they return home.
"I would like to thank Congressman Murphy for addressing the needs of servicemembers and veterans by working to provide greater flexibility in service contracts when a servicemember has changed duty stations or been deployed," said Rep. Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "As we work to strengthen our efforts nationally to support veterans and servicemembers during deployments, I applaud the leadership of Congressman Murphy on this issue."
"Our servicemembers should be allowed to focus on completing their mission and returning home safely, not worrying about how they'll reconnect with their loved ones or whether they'll return to a pile of unpaid bills," said Rep. Murphy. "After hearing countless stories of veterans returning from overseas deployments only to spend hours fighting through red tape, this legislation will make reintegration that much easier for our returning heroes."