Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored two bills with Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to help servicemembers access affordable housing. These two pieces of legislation would update the method the Department of Defense (DoD) uses to calculate housing allowances and identify ways to increase homeownership for military families.
“Our servicemembers sacrifice so much for our country, and it is our responsibility to do all we can to provide them with access to affordable and quality housing,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Investing in quality housing is respecting and recognizing the dedication of our servicemembers and their families.”
The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Calculation Improvement Act would direct the Department to examine the current BAH rates’ efficiency and efficacy and determine if BAH should be calculated more often, if school districts can be included in BAH calculations, and if there is an algorithm the Department can develop that would be more effective. Given the amount of publicly available data in the rental market, it is far past time for the Department to look at alternative, more responsive, and transparent ways to calculate BAH.
The Increasing Homeownership for Servicemembers Act would direct the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study to better understand the barriers to ownership for members of the Armed Forces. With frequent moves and other potential barriers, the opportunity to own a home and build family wealth is out of reach for many servicemembers.
The Senator most recently celebrated the Senate’s passage of the PACT Act, legislation she cosponsored that ensures that veterans exposed to toxins during their service to our country get access to the health care and treatment they’re entitled to at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) facilities
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate advocating for our veterans and their families. In December, her legislation to protect VA benefits for student veterans was signed into law. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans who have a service-related medical condition to get the benefits they are owed, as well as a bill to protect veterans and working families from housing discrimination. As part of the NDAA of 2021, she secured measures to improve mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves and increase the transparency and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE medical billing practices. In the 2020 NDAA, she secured reforms to improve the management of privatized military housing installations.