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House Passes Wenstrup, Bustos Bill to Help the Families of Our Wounded and Fallen Heroes

Washington, February 25, 2020 Contact: Christopher Krepich (202-225-3164)

WASHINGTON. D.C.—Today, the House unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Congresswoman Cherri Bustos (D-IL) that would help the families of servicemembers who are killed or severely injured in the line of duty.

“We owe our servicemembers a debt of gratitude that extends to their spouses and children as well. When a member of our military pays the ultimate sacrifice or is catastrophically injured, their loved ones need the flexibility to be able to move closer to family for care and support,” said Congressman Wenstrup. “I’m proud to continue leading with Congresswoman Bustos on this important issue.”

“After our fallen heroes have sacrificed so much for our country, we must do everything in our power to support their families. That includes ensuring that the children and dependents of these heroic service men and women receive the support and protections they deserve,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “I was proud to work across the aisle with Congressman Wenstrup, to build on the protections extended to Gold Star and injured spouses.”

Background:

Reps. Wenstrup and Bustos began working together on this issue in the 115th Congress after Bustos learned of Sgt. Douglas Riney, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2016. His wife, Kylie Riney, wanted to bring their two children back home to Illinois, where the rest of their family lives, but even in the wake of this tragedy, her landlord refused to allow her to end the lease she and her late husband signed.

Wenstrup and Bustos introduced the Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act to prevent situations like the Riney family’s from happening to other Gold Star families. The bill allows the spouses of servicemembers killed in the line of duty to terminate their property lease without penalty. It was included in the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 and signed into law.

The two then fought to get legislative language in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 that would extend the protections to include auto leases.

H.R. 2227 builds upon those efforts by expanding the protections to dependents of servicemembers killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

Congressman Brad Wenstrup is an Iraq War veteran, having served a tour of duty in 2005-06. He currently serves in the United States Army Reserves, where he holds the rank of Colonel.

You can view the Congressman's remarks on the House Floor here. 

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