Bill ensures Minnesota Guard receives benefits promised to them
NEWS RELEASE — Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama signed Second District U.S. Rep. John Kline’s legislation into law today (Friday, May 25) ensuring the Minnesota National Guard and more than 49,000 men and women in uniform across the country receive the benefits they earned.
Kline’s bill, H.R. 4045, grandfathers members of the Guard and Reserves impacted by the Pentagon’s change to the Post Deployment/ Mobilization Respite Absence Program (PDMRA) program so they can receive the paid leave they were promised prior to mobilization and deployment.
“Promises made should be promises kept, and I am committed to ensuring the government keeps faith with our troops,” said Kline, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “The entire Minnesota congressional delegation worked together to guarantee our sons and daughters in uniform received the benefits they were promised and earned. Speed counts, and I am pleased the President swiftly signed this into law.”
Last year, after more than 2,000 Minnesota soldiers were deployed, the Pentagon made a change to the PDMRA program, significantly reducing their earned leave and providing less time for service members to spend with their families and look for a job after a long deployment. Some of the members of Minnesota’s Red Bulls stand to lose more than 27 days under this new policy.
In February, Kline told Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that the Pentagon was breaking faith with our troops by changing policy after the Minnesota Guard had deployed. Kline met with Sec. Panetta again in April to reiterate his concerns.
Kline’s bill, co-sponsored by the entire Minnesota Congressional delegation, received overwhelming bipartisan support May 15 when it passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Fellow Minnesotan Sen. Amy Klobuchar guided Kline’s bill to passage May 17 in the U.S. Senate.
“When our men and women in uniform signed up to serve there wasn’t a line, and there shouldn’t be a line to get the benefits they earned when they come home,” Klobuchar said. “This is a victory for the Minnesota Red Bulls and all servicemen and women of the National Guard and Reserve, ensuring they receive the full amount of leave benefits they were promised and earned defending our country.”
John Kline serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He also is the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.