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House and Senate Leaders Introduce Bill to End Social Security Benefits for Nazis

November 19, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers introduced legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for Nazi persecutors who receive them because of a loophole in current law.  In the House, Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Subcommittee Ranking Member Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and 34 additional House members introduced H.R. 5739, the No Social Security for Nazis Act.  In the Senate, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an identical companion bill.

Speaking about the introduction of the bill, Johnson said: “The World must never forget the six million Jews and other innocents murdered in the Holocaust.  America has worked to prevent Nazis from entering the country and reaping the benefits of U.S. citizenship, including Social Security.  However, due to a loophole, some Nazis who came to America continue to receive Social Security benefits.  That is just plain wrong!  This bill would stop these Nazis from continuing to receive Social Security.”  

“Like past Congresses, we believe that there is no place for Holocaust perpetrators in the United States of America,” said Becerra.  “And if there is no place for them in our country, there is certainly no place for them in our crown jewel, Social Security.  I hope we can move quickly to enact this legislation, before Social Security is required to pay another dime to a Nazi war criminal.”

“It’s outrageous that Nazi war criminals and anyone who participated in Nazi persecution atrocities continue to collect Social Security benefits while living abroad. As everyone agrees: this must stop,” said Hatch.  “This bipartisan bill directly amends the Social Security Act to end benefits for war criminals who persecuted millions of innocents.  With similar legislative action under way in the House, I’m immensely hopeful that this bill quickly passes in the Senate.” 

“This bill ends a practice that was never envisioned or intended and which no one can support,” Wyden said.  “Simply put, passing this bill will rightly shut the door on Nazi war criminals living outside the United States who’ve been exploiting a loophole allowing them to collect Social Security benefits.  I look forward to seeing it become law as soon as possible.  Social Security is a cornerstone of our national’s social insurance system and we must be diligent in ensuring that it reflects our values.”

The legislation is a result of bipartisan work following news reports that some Nazi persecutors, who participated in the systematic murder of millions of innocents, are currently receiving Social Security benefits due to a loophole in the law.  By leaving the U.S. voluntarily, instead of being deported, some Nazi war criminals and collaborators were able to keep their Social Security benefits.  The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee have jurisdiction over Social Security. 

Other original cosponsors from the Ways and Means Committee include Chairman Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), along with Ways and Means Members Black (R-TN), Blumenauer (D-OR), Buchanan (R-FL), Crowley (D-NY) Danny Davis (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), Gerlach (R-PA), Griffin (R-AR), Jenkins (R-KS), Kelly (R-PA), Larson (D-CT), Lewis (D-GA), Nunes (R-CA), Pascrell (D-NJ), Rangel (D-NY), Reichert (R-WA), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Schock (R-IL), Schwartz (D-PA), Thompson (D-CA), and Tiberi (R-OH).  Other original cosponsors include Representatives Burgess (R-TX), Clarke (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Esty (D-CT), Fincher (R-TN), Fudge (D-OH), Joyce (R-OH), Lance (R-NJ), Smith (R-MO), and Speier (D-CA).
Text of the legislation and bill summary information is available here.