WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would end Social Security payments to former Nazis.
The No Social Security for Nazis Act passed Tuesday by consent. It closed a loophole that had allowed ex-Nazis who lied about their past when immigrating to the United States — and been identified and deported by the Justice Department — to continue receiving Social Security and other benefits.
The bill was sponsored by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) along with Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and its ranking member, Sander Levin (D-Mich.),
A similar bill in the Senate sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is under consideration.
The White House has encouraged bids to close the loophole.
Jewish groups praised the House vote.
“Now that most suspected Nazi perpetrators have been deported or have fled the U.S., it’s time to focus on ending any possible remaining federal benefits from being paid to them,” Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League national director and a Holocaust survivor, said in a statement. “Today’s vote is certainly a case of better late than never.”
The Jewish Federations of North America, which led lobbying for the bill, in its statement noted another of its initiatives, bringing relief to American Holocaust survivors who live in poverty.
“There are more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the U.S., many of whom struggle to afford basic needs and services,” said JFNA’s Washington director, William Daroff. “The Holocaust survivors – not their persecutors – need and deserve the support of the U.S. government.”
News of the continued benefits came in October, when The Associated Press published an expose.
There are at least four living beneficiaries, including Jakob Denzinger, a former guard at Auschwitz. Denzinger, 90, lives in Croatia, where he receives approximately $1,500 a month in Social Security payments.