MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A United States representative from Oklahoma has teamed up with other lawmakers to provide better protections for military families.

Rep. Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), and Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure oversight and accountability on safe housing for military families.

The Military Housing Readiness Council Act would create a council comprised of Department of Defense officials, service members, military families, and military housing experts to ensure oversight of privatized military housing.

“It is our duty to support those who have bravely and selflessly dedicated their lives to protecting our nation,” Rep. Bice said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Military Housing Readiness Council Act, which will provide oversight and transparency for military housing. While conditions in privatized military housing at Tinker AFB have seen improvements in recent years, there are still a range of nationwide issues that require greater oversight including the timeliness of repairs, abatement of mold, and the timely accommodation of individuals with disabilities. We must ensure our servicemembers and their families have reliable and safe housing conditions.”

The council would be able to make recommendations to the Secretary of Defense regarding policies like inspection practices, resident surveys, and access to maintenance work order systems.

It also requires annual reporting to the Secretary of Defense and the congressional defense committees on the council’s activities.

The measure comes after a housing provider pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud the United States military.

In 2019, KFOR reported on multiple instances of residents at Tinker Air Force Base dealing with housing issues.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe began looking into Balfour Beatty Communities, a private contractor and management company that built and operates the military housing.

“Quite frankly I thought this was a problem that was unique to Tinker. I didn’t know, and I chair the committee. So we had a hearing and we talked about it, then I concluded that, no, this something that is all over Oklahoma. Then we find out its all over America,” Inhofe said.

Asbestos, mold, and firewall issues were some of the concerns from residents.

“Instead of promptly repairing housing for U.S. servicemembers as required, BBC lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “This pervasive fraud was a consequence of BBC’s broken corporate culture, which valued profit over the welfare of servicemembers. Today’s global resolution sends a clear message to companies that if they do not maintain adequate compliance programs, voluntarily self-disclose misconduct, and fully cooperate with the government, they will pay a price that outweighs the profits they once reaped.”

BBC operated privatized military housing communities at 21 U.S. Air Force, 18 U.S. Navy, and 16 U.S. Army bases across the country.