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Paperwork Delay Affects More Than 20,000 Service Members
Washington, D.C. – Working to ensure that U.S. service members receive all of the pay earned while serving in combat, U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation today to retroactively pay soldiers for leave earned under the Post Deployment and Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA).
Over 20,000 service members have not received their earned leave due to a delay between the announcement of the leave program by the Department of Defense and the establishment of the program by the individual services. The Senators’ legislation would reimburse soldiers who were left out during that period.
“Our promises to our nation’s soldiers shouldn’t be wrapped in red tape,” said Klobuchar. “Many of these soldiers have put their lives and families on hold to serve our nation. We must make sure they get the benefits they have earned, and we owe it to them to fix this quickly.”
“Service members shouldn’t be penalized because the Pentagon took their time filing paperwork,” said Wyden. “This legislation honors the intent of the original program by ensuring that the brave men and women who earned paid-leave by serving in harm’s way actually get paid for it.”
“Hundreds of members of the Iowa National Guard have been unnecessarily cut out of earned benefits because of a bureaucratic snafu,” Grassley said. “These patriots were part of one of the longest serving units in Operation Iraqi Freedom and have continued to answer the call to duty again and again. They shouldn’t have to wait for what they rightly deserve.”
“It is unconscionable to withhold the rightfully earned leave pay of nearly 600 Iowa National Guard troops that have bravely served our country,” said Harkin. “This legislation takes aim at the bureaucratic roadblocks that shorted our soldiers and makes sure that this does not happen again.”
“At a time when our men and women in uniform are returning to a country experiencing a far-reaching economic crisis, we must ensure that our promises to them are fulfilled,” said Nelson. “There are over 200 National Guard members in Nebraska who have gone without pay that was promised to them. Our brave soldiers deserve better and must receive what they have rightfully earned.”
“As a former Marine, I am pleased to co-sponsor this bill as I believe our Military members and their families deserve nothing less,” Roberts said. “This retroactive pay is long overdue to those who sacrifice to protect our nation.”
Menendez said: “The brave men and women of our military have been returning home from a warzone to our nation’s worst economic situation in generations. A grateful nation makes sure they have, at the very least, a helping hand as they transition to civilian life back home. This is the least we can do to support our troops.”