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Opening Statement of Hon. John Barrow, a Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia

Thank you Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Filner,

This is my first hearing as a member of the Veterans Committee, and I would like to express the honor and humility with which I serve on this committee. We owe an extraordinary amount of gratitude to those who have served our country, and we still have a lot to do before we can say we have kept the promises we made to our veterans when they first joined up. Better enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is an important step in the right direction to keeping those promises.

Proper adherence to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act makes our country safer and protects the families of our troops. Servicemembers should be able to devote themselves completely to the defense of the nation. With the very real dangers they face in war they cannot be distracted by the thought of losing their home while serving and leaving their family on the street. But they will be distracted if the few times they hear from home they discover that their family is in danger of losing their home to an illegal foreclosure. The families of our troops already face undue stress while their loved ones serve on abroad on active duty.

I understand that JP Morgan Chase has taken steps to correct the accounting problems that violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but we have to do better in the future. I look forward to hearing specifically how and why the protections under SCRA were not followed.  More importantly, I want to hear specific suggestions on how we can improve the application of SCRA through oversight so that no one has to worry about losing their home because they have been called to active duty.