Braley pushes for benefits for guard members - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Braley pushes for benefits for guard members

From Rep. Bruce Braley's Office:

Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) renewed an effort to fix a problem in the provision of leave benefits to members of the Iowa National Guard. 

The Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act would ensure that National Guard troops are provided leave benefits they were promised under the Department of Defense's Post Deployment and Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) program.   Approximately 20,000 servicemembers-including an estimated 800 Iowa National Guard members-did not receive benefits they earned 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.

"A bureaucratic glitch should not prevent our troops from receiving the benefits they earned," Braley said.  "Iowa's 1-133rd Infantry served the longest tour of any ground combat unit in Iraq, and we owe it to them to fix this problem quickly and provide them with the benefits they deserve. 

"The Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act will ensure that these soldiers and other affected troops nationwide promptly receive the benefits they were promised by the Pentagon." 

PDMRA leave was designed to provide service members who were deployed beyond established rotation cycles to Iraq and Afghanistan additional time to reintegrate back into civilian life, as well as to help with retention of service members who had experienced long tours.

The delay in implementation varied from service to service.  The Department of the Army didn't issue its corresponding policy for implementing PDMRA until more than six months after DoD's January 19, 2007 issuance date.  During this gap, thousands of soldiers from the National Guard and Army Reserve separated from the service and did not receive proper compensation for their PDMRA leave.

Braley's bill would allow the Defense Department (DoD) to retroactively grant a $200 per day benefit to soldiers who were left out during that period. 

Braley first introduced the Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act last July.  All members of the Iowa delegation are co-sponsors of the bill.  The text of the bill is attached.

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