Fact Check: US House Bill Would Supposedly Extend 'Taxpayer Benefits' To Americans Serving in IDF. Here's What the Bill Actually Says

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GOP U.S. House Reps. Guy Reschenthaler and Max Miller introduced a bill that would extend the same "taxpayer benefits" provided to U.S. military servicemembers to Americans serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).


Rating: Mixture
Rating: Mixture


The proposed legislation would amend portions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to include some American citizens who served in the IDF. These laws provide legal protections, not financial benefits.


On May 17, 2024, amid an ongoing national debate about American support for Israel's war in Gaza, two Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would extend some legal protections given to U.S. service members to American citizens serving in the IDF.

Viral posts on social media characterized the bill, introduced by Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler and Ohio Rep. Max Miller, as one that would "extend the same taxpayer benefits to Americans serving in the IDF as if they were serving in the US military":

While the legislative language pictured in the above post is a legitimate excerpt from the text of the representatives' bill, it is misleading to describe that proposed legislation as bestowing a "taxpayer benefit" on American IDF service members: The laws at issue concern legal protections, not financial benefits paid for with taxpayer money.

The two laws in question are the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The SCRA postpones or suspends certain civil obligations, like credit card debt, mortgage payments, pending trials, taxes, lease termination and eviction issues, and life insurance protection to "enable service members to devote their full attention to duty and to relieve stress on their families."

The USERRA "protects military service members and veterans from employment discrimination on the basis of their service, and allows them to regain their civilian jobs following a period of uniformed service." As described in a Congressional Research Service report on the history of these laws, they sought to protect "servicemembers whose service to the nation compromise[d] their ability to meet obligations and protect their legal interests."

During the Civil War, congress enacted an "absolute moratorium" on civil actions brought against servicemembers, and similar laws have been enacted during more recent conflicts, ultimately resulting in the legal landscape that exists today.

As presently constructed, these laws cover service members, reservists, and members of the National Guard while on active duty. Reps. Reschenthaler and Miller's bill would "extend the benefits of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to American citizens serving in the Israel Defense Forces."

At the time of this reporting, the bill had been sent to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Because this bill would bestow the legal protections of the SCRA and USERRA to Americans who served or are serving in the IDF, but because it would not give them "the same taxpayer benefits" given to U.S. veterans — things like access to the Veterans Affairs medical system, unemployment compensation, and spousal support — Snopes rates the claim a "Mixture" of true and false statements.


Benefits. https://militarypay.defense.gov/benefits/. Accessed 28 May 2024.

Mason, R. Chuck. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): An Explanation . Congressional Research Service, 27 Aug. 2014, https://www.justice.gov/crt-military/file/797396/dl.

Reschenthaler, Miller Introduce Legislation to Support American Citizens Fighting in Israel | U.S. Congressman Guy Reschenthaler. https://reschenthaler.house.gov/media/press-releases/reschenthaler-miller-introduce-legislation-to-support-american-citizens-fighting-in-israel. Accessed 28 May 2024.

"Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act." OCC.Gov, 6 Apr. 2019, https://www.occ.gov/topics/consumers-and-communities/consumer-protection/servicemembers-civil-relief-act/index-servicemembers-civil-relief-act.html.

To Amend Title 38, United States Code, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to Provide for the Eligibility of United States Citizens Who Serve in the Israeli Defense Forces for Certain Protections Relating to Such Service. 8445, https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/8445/all-actions.

USERRA Overview. https://osc.gov/Services/Pages/USERRA.aspx. Accessed 28 May 2024.