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A bipartisan, bicameral bill led by U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) that would permanently establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (SVI) within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) passed the Senate this week. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

The SVI was created in 2015 by the Department of Justice in an effort to enforce the statutes created to protect the rights and legal interests of those serving in the armed forces as well as their families.

The law serves as a legal and policy advisor to the Attorney General on enforcing federal laws that protect servicemembers and veterans. It serves as the liaison between the DOJ and military departments and serves as a liaison with the Criminal Division to coordinate the prosecution of fraud that targets servicemembers and their families.

“As a combat veteran, caring for our servicemembers, veterans, and military families is one of my top priorities. That’s why I’ve helped lead this bipartisan effort to ensure the Department of Justice continues their work to protect the rights and legal interests of our nation’s heroes during and long after their military careers. I’m glad this important legislation passed the Senate this week, and is now one step closer to being signed into law,” said Senator Ernst.

“The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative has provided critical support for servicemembers and veterans over the last five years. This bipartisan legislation makes sure that the Department of Justice has the tools and direction to remain focused on supporting servicemembers, veterans, and their families. As a Senate Armed Services Committee member, I am proud that the Senate passed this legislation, and urge that it be swiftly signed into law,” said Senator Hirono.