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Rep. Sánchez’s Bill to Protect Service Members’ Credit Passes the House

January 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DCU.S. Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38) today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020, which included her legislation, the Fair Credit Reporting for Servicemembers Act. This would allow service members to dispute any negative information, or “dings,” on their credit report that occurred while they were serving in a combat zone or aboard a U.S. vessel.

“Our service members face enough hardship while serving and then returning from a tour of duty,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “We must acknowledge the realities of deployment in today’s world. Lives go on at home while our military members are deployed. Sometimes a bill is missed when an electronic payment agreement lapses, a credit card on file expires, or an unauthorized credit card is issued. This bill will allow for credit reports that more accurately reflect the full picture."

First introduced in 2014, the Fair Credit Reporting for Servicemembers Act came from meetings Sánchez had with two courageous parents, John Kelsall, then President of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and his wife, long time Southern California non-profit leader, Teri. They lost their son, Jonas, a Lieutenant Commander and proud Navy Seal, in 2011, during a tour in Afghanistan. To keep their son’s legacy alive, they founded a nonprofit veterans business incubator to assist returning U.S. military veterans.

While updating Congresswoman Sánchez on the organization’s challenges and successes, they shared one hurdle that kept coming up over and over. Service members and veterans were having trouble obtaining loans to help grow their businesses. This was often due to missing payments that were out of their control during deployments, resulting in hits to their credit.

“I knew something had to change,” continued Sánchez. “Our country continues to ask so much from our men and women in uniform. They deserve financial peace of mind during deployments and they will have that when this becomes law.”

Supporting Organizations: National Military Family Association, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), Consumer Federation of America