EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An initiative designed to protect the civilian employment rights of members in the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families is now a permanent part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar’s first standalone bill, called The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The legislation ensures the initiative remains a permanent part of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

“El Paso is home to a strong and growing veteran community and to Fort Bliss and one of my top priorities is to protect them and their families in the same way they have served our country and defended the freedoms we enjoy each day,” she said.

The act was introduced by Escobar and Republican U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of Dallas on Sept. 23, 2020.

The bill passed through Congress, gaining bipartisan support and endorsement from Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans Education Success and Student Veterans of America. It passed through the House of Representatives with a 400-1 vote.

Democratic Senator of Hawaii Mazie Hirono and Republican Senator of Iowa Joni Ernst, a combat veteran, helped craft the Senate version of the bill.

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