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Shaheen, Cramer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Close Loophole Ensuring All Veterans Can Access VA Home Loans

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S Senate Armed Services Committee, and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reintroduced the bipartisan Expanding Home Loans for Guard and Reservists Act to fix a loophole in the law under which certain National Guard Members and Reservists are not adequately credited for their time on active service and would expand their eligibility for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans accordingly.

“Our nation’s housing affordability crisis has widespread impacts, including on National Guard Members and Reservists who have bravely served our country,” said Senator Shaheen. “By closing this eligibility loophole, the legislation would ensure that all of our veterans and service members can use VA home loans to access affordable housing options.”

“Our guard and reservists answer the call and drop everything to serve our country when needed most,” said Senator Cramer. “While Congress intended each of them to access these benefits when we expanded the program, a technical error stands in the way. Our bill corrects the flaw within the program to ensure eligible servicemembers can actually utilize the VA Home Loan benefit they’ve earned.”

The full text of the Expanding Home Loans for Guard and Reservists Act can be read here.

Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in the Senate to support veterans and military families. She worked to include provisions and helped pass the historic PACT Act, which expanded health care for veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. In the fiscal year (FY) 2021 national defense bill that became law, Shaheen supported an amendment offered by Senator Tester (D-MT) that would require the VA to provide benefits for veterans suffering from four diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The amendment was based on standalone legislation authored by U.S. Senator Tester, which Senator Shaheen cosponsored. In addition, Shaheen cosponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which was signed into law in 2019 and created a permanent legislative fix to help ensure “Blue Water” Navy veterans get the disability and health care benefits they deserve as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Senator Shaheen worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Access for Veterans to Records Act to help more veterans access their service records. Last year, Shaheen sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough pushing the VA to address urgent infrastructure failures at the Manchester VA Medical Center and prioritize building a full-service VA hospital in the state.