GOP, Dems rally behind Social Security benefit ban for Nazis

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U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol Building (file photo)

WASHINGTON (CNN – Dec. 2, 2014)– Almost 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp set up by the Germans to exterminate Jewish prisoners, there are still a handful of Nazis who continue to receive U.S. Social Security benefits.

The House unanimously passed a bill — dubbed the “No Social Security for Nazis Act” — on Tuesday that would cut off those benefits.

Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson, a decorated Air Force veteran who was a prisoner of war for seven years during the Vietnam War, was the lead sponsor of the legislation.

“While the number of Nazis receiving Social Security is few, allowing payments to continue is an insult to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis,” Johnson said.

Congress has considered various proposals designed to deny any benefits from Nazis. This latest bill was introduced last month after a recent Associated Press investigation reported that dozens of Nazis who were deported from the United States were still collecting millions of dollars in retirement benefits. Even though these people were stripped of their U.S. citizenship and forced to leave the country a loophole in the law allowed them to continue receiving Social Security checks.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who has been a key proponent in changing the law, told CNN that she has asked both the Justice Department and Social Security Administration to find out how much money was paid out and how many were still receiving any social security funds. She estimated there were roughly four individuals who were still eligible for the payments.

“They are dying out, but anybody who gets it is too much. They came to this country under false pretenses,” Maloney told CNN.

There is a companion bill in the Senate and the sponsors of the House bill are confident that this is one item that both parties in the House and Senate can get to the President’s desk before the lame duck session of wraps up this month.

“If we can’t agree on this, my goodness what can we agree on?” Maloney asked.