It is very rare that a bill is drafted in the U.S. of Representatives and all, or just about all of the members vote in favor of it.
But thanks to a bipartisan effort by Reps. Ted Deutsch (D) and Tom Rooney (R) of penning a bill that protects veterans from schemes to defraud them with like schemes that purport to being able to speed up the benefit claims process, members voted unanimously (411-0) to support this bill.
Here is what Rep. Rooney stated in a press release about the bill:
A despicable breed of financial predators have been advertising themselves to the veterans community claiming that, for a hefty fee paid by the veteran, they can speed up the claims process with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although it is illegal under existing law for anyone who is not an approved agent to charge a fee for helping a veteran with a claim or an appeal with the VA, there is no criminal or financial penalty associated with breaking the law. The Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act will both deter and penalize fraudsters that blatantly engage in a scheme to defraud a veteran (or his or her survivor or spouse) of his or her benefits by imposing a fine, imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
Rep. Deutsch added:
“It is a testament to the pressing and bipartisan nature of this issue that Congress swiftly considered and unanimously passed this legislation into law …Defrauding vulnerable veterans by going after their well-deserved pensions with false claims of additional benefits is a despicable act, and this law now makes it a punishable offense. The next step is making sure veterans are aware of these scams and know the services available to protect themselves.”
What Rooney said:
“These criminals have to pay the price for their despicable actions, which include deliberately targeting and stealing from the most vulnerable, and it is our job as legislators to give law enforcement the tools they need to punish them…I am hopeful this law will help start adequately protecting veterans and their families from these deceitful individuals and entities and bring those who prey on our communities to justice.”