Congress passes bill to protect eugenics victims

Congress passes bill to protect eugenics victims

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Congress has passed a bill to protect victims of forced sterilization from being hurt by the federal government. The House on Tuesday passed the Treatment of Certain Payments in Eugenics Compensation Act, written by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tom Carper (D-DE), and supported by members on both sides of the aisle.

According to a news release sent by Sen. Tillis' office, the bill will help protect eugenics victims that have received compensation payments from the state, by excluding those payments from being used by the federal government in determining whether the victims are eligible for federal programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, and SSI-Disabled. Without this legislation, supporters say eugenics victims who receive compensation payments could see their federal benefits reduced or even have their eligibility eliminated.

"Passage of this legislation caps off a long quest for justice for the victims of North Carolina's shameful eugenics and sterilization program," Sen. Tillis said in a comment included in the email news release. "When we established the compensation program for victims in North Carolina, we certainly didn't intend to jeopardize their access to critical federal safety net programs through a legal technicality. They have suffered long enough, and I commend my colleagues in the House and Senate who have stood with these brave survivors to pass this legislation and bring relief."

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark. Warner (D-VA). The bill passed the House on a voice-vote Tuesday, after passing the Senate unanimously months ago, and is now headed to the desk of President Obama for his signature.

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