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Opening Statement of Hon. Bruce L. Braley, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

The bills included in today’s hearing represent some of the current critical needs veterans have such as foreclosure protections for service members and spouses, veterans small business contracting opportunities, housing loans for surviving spouses of disabled-veterans, and the need to extend Paralympics funding.

I am pleased that one of the bills we will be discussing today is H.R. 1911, the Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act,a bill I introduced to help veterans returning from combat who are facing foreclosure of their homes. This legislation would protect veterans from being foreclosed upon by banks and would give these soldiers time to get their finances in order after long deployments.

Our veterans often return from combat only to face new challenges. Whether it’s an injury or a financial crisis caused by long deployments and time off from their civilian jobs, our veterans deserve to know that we’re standing up for them. This bill will give our soldiers enough time to get back on their feet and get their finances in order before being kicked out of their homes. This is the least we can do for the brave men and women who serve this country. 

Providing veterans the opportunity to succeed means that we must generate the programs or benefits that will allow them to establish small businesses, careers, or a home.  One of the major hurdles veterans face when they become civilians is that while they are on active duty their personal lives and careers are put on hold, while their civilian counterparts don’t have these challenges.  Their service to our country can make it difficult to obtain a home loan, successfully compete for federal contracts, or even put them at risk of losing their home in the event of financial difficulty.

Today’s bills recognize the many challenges that our veterans face.  I look forward to today’s discussion on how these bills will help veterans overcome some of the challenges they face and welcome any ideas on how to improve them.