U.S. Rep. Denny Heck this week submitted a bill that would enhance financial protections for deployed military troops by broadening the forms of acceptable documentation they must submit to lenders to prove their military status.
Heck, a Democrat from Olympia, is carrying the bill because he has heard complaints from military families who have not been able to access the protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003, which can be used to cap interest on loans and postpone certain civilian obligations during deployments.
For example, the law requires a military service member to provide written orders to civilian authorities when they want to access the law’s protections. Heck said the some troops do not receive formal orders with defined start and end dates.
The broader language in Heck’s proposal would allow a military service member to provide lenders a certified letter from a commanding officer or information from the Defense Manpower Data Center.
“I have the honor of representing more than 15,000 active duty service members. I believe all of them deserve the opportunity to afford college, own a home, and serve our country without worrying about runaway interest rates on their loans and mortgages,” Heck said in a news release.
Democratic Rep. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor has signed on to the bill as a cosponsor.