The House on Tuesday passed legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for suspected Nazi war criminals.
Passed 420-0, the bill was approved after an October Associated Press report found that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals forced to leave the U.S. collected millions of dollars in federal benefits.
Rep. Sam JohnsonSamuel (Sam) Robert JohnsonDan Bongino to present five-part Fox series on people 'canceled' CEO fired after mocking teen for wearing dress to prom Van Taylor wins reelection to Texas seat held by GOP since 1968 MORE (R-Texas), the measure's sponsor, said it would close a loophole that allowed Nazis who skipped the lengthy deportation process to still receive Social Security benefits.
"Social Security is an earned benefit hardworking Americans pay as a portion of their wages for promises of future benefits," Johnson said. "It's a benefit that was never intended for those who participated in horrific acts of the Holocaust."
The Justice Department pressured Nazi war crime suspects to leave the U.S. voluntarily to speed up their departures, according to the AP. However, avoiding the deportation process resulted in the individuals still being eligible for federal payments.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said Congress should ensure that individuals who committed war crimes during the Holocaust wouldn't receive the same benefits as average Americans.
In a statement, the Jewish Federations of North America, which advocated for the legislation, urged the Senate to clear newly-passed legislation to the president.
"There are more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the U.S., many of whom struggle to afford basic needs and services. The Holocaust survivors – not their persecutors – need and deserve the support of the U.S. government," said William Daroff, senior vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office for Jewish Federations.
This post was updated at 5:00 p.m.