Senator Jay Rockefeller said today he will continue to work to pass legislation to protect the men and women of the armed forces from losing their homes to banks and other lenders while they are deployed, protecting our country in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places across the world.
Rockefeller said a bill he introduced this week would broaden the laws that protect service members from losing or foreclosing on their home while they are fighting for the country or have recently returned from active duty.
"Every day, these brave men and women leave their families, friends and support systems to protect our country. The least we can do for these American heroes is make sure their homes and families are protected while they are away," Rockefeller said. "I will fight to make sure that our servicemembers get the protections, rights and respect that they deserve. They have chosen to fight and protect each of us. Foreclosure on their families' homes is not something that they should have to worry about while they are away on duty. They absolutely deserve our full support."
The bill, known as the Military Family Home Protection Act of 2012, would provide mortgage foreclosure relief, mandate a permanent 12 month stay of foreclosure proceedings, increase civil penalties and improve compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. A similar bill recently passed the House with the broad support of both Democrats and Republicans.
Last summer, the Senate Commerce Committee, which Rockefeller chairs, held a forum on this issue where veterans and advocates told stories of problems under the current system, which has some protections for the military but not enough.
A 2011 report prepared in part for Rockefeller showed that multiple mortgage servicing companies illegally foreclosed on servicemembers and charged interest rates in excess of the maximum amounts allowed. Rockefeller also convened a forum to examine illegal foreclosures against servicemembers and their families.