Amid the wrangling over the budget and the CIA report the Senate did manage to extend some extra foreclosure protections for military service members who have recently returned from active duty. In a unanimous voice vote on Thursday the Senate passed S2404 which makes permanent a portion of the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which would have expired at the end of this month.
The extensions, originally incorporated into the act in 2008, forbids banks from foreclosing on a member of the military for a period after that member returns from active duty as long as the subject mortgage was taken out prior to active duty. The original period of nine months was lengthened to a full year in 2012 under a bill introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). It was that action that was set to expire at the end of this December returning the period of protection to the pre-2008 level of only 90 days.
The longer period of protection had been sought be reservists and National Guard memberships who, when called up during the Iraq War, often had to give up full-time jobs to honor their much lower-paid military commitments.
The SCRA also contains protections against some evictions and repossessions of autos and other personal property while a service member is on active duty.
The House of Representatives has yet to act on the bill or on companion legislation (H5730 and H5731) introduced in the House.