OPIOID SERIES:

Senate panel approves Nazi-stolen art recovery bill

Jewish families are one step closer to recovering artwork that was stolen by the Nazis.

A Senate panel on Thursday advanced the bipartisan Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act. The legislation would eliminate legal barriers that stand in the way of Jewish families reclaiming art that ended up in museums and private collections following the Holocaust.

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Three months after actress Helen Mirren showed up on Capitol Hill to advocate for the HEAR Act, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the legislation, which now goes to the floor for a final vote.

The HEAR Act has garnered wide support from both sides of the aisle, including from Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSenate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA DOJ denies reports judicial nominee once called illegal immigrants 'maggots' Overnight Energy: Trump NASA pick advances after drama | White House office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | 170 lawmakers call for Pruitt to resign MORE (R-Texas), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA DOJ denies reports judicial nominee once called illegal immigrants 'maggots' MORE (R-Texas), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHouse Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds Congress should build on the momentum from spending bill Corker won’t campaign against Democrat running for Tennessee Senate seat MORE (D-N.Y.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

For Jewish families, this art is a reminder of their heritage, said Cruz, which is “far more valuable than whatever economic value the works of art or cultural artifacts might have today. Indeed, that is priceless.” 

“It is long past time to return the ill-gotten gains of one of history’s vilest villains,” said Blumenthal.