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***PRESS STATEMENT*** House Approves Final Passage Of National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008

Oct 3, 2008

Washington, Oct 3, 2008 - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved S. 3197, the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act, a virtually identical version of H.R. 4044, co-authored by U.S. Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL). The House unanimously passed H.R. 4044 in June 2008. The legislation will allow Reservists and National Guardsmen to file for bankruptcy relief under the old Chapter 7 rules without the burdens imposed by the current, more restrictive bankruptcy law.

“Today’s final passage of our bill to provide a financial helping hand to our National Guardsmen and Reservists is one of the better examples of bipartisanship,” said U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). “It is only fair we protect our brave defenders from the harsh financial consequences active duty can bring upon their lives. The final approval of this bill is long overdue and with the President’s signature, Guardsmen and Reservists who are unable to repay debts as a result of their service, will now be given a well deserved financial break.”

“Now that the bill has passed both the House and Senate we are only one step away from providing modest financial relief to Reservists and Guard Members who are struggling to make ends meet because of their service. The current financial crisis has hit military families particularly hard by making it even more difficult to rebound,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “I urge the President to sign this bill into law immediately so we can help these service men and women get back on their feet.”

The National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act will make it easier for soldiers to file for bankruptcy by eliminating the means tests for those serving for more than 90 days in Iraq and Afghanistan. This exemption currently exists for disabled veterans. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Act, which became law in 2005, made it more difficult for members of the National Guard and Reservists to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by placing tougher restrictions on the dismissal of debt.

Representative Rohrabacher and Schakowsky worked together for over three years on H.R. 4044. The bill will now be sent to the President’s desk for signature.