Landrieu Introduces Bill to Close Military Pay Gap
Measure would provide tax credit to patriotic employers.
WASHINGTON -- On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Senators Mary Landrieu, D-La., George Allen, R-Va., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., introduced the Helping Our Patriotic Employers at Helping Our Military Employees (HOPE at HOME) Act yesterday. The HOPE at HOME Act, which has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., provides a tax credit to businesses who continue to pay the salaries of employees who are activated for Guard or Reserve duty.
"Our Guard and Reserve put their lives on the line to fight for each of us, our freedoms and our livelihood," Sen. Landrieu said. "They should be the first in line when it comes to tax relief. Surely we can afford to fight for them and help secure their livelihood. They already volunteer for the ultimate sacrifice. They shouldn't have to sacrifice their financial stability to do so."
The bill also gives a tax credit to businesses needing to hire a temporary replacement for a deployed Guardsman or Reservist, and requires the federal government to make up the pay gap for federal employees called to active duty.
More than 40 percent of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are members of the Guard and Reserve, and according to 2004 Status of Forces Survey of Reserve Component Members, 51 percent of them take a pay cut to serve. In March, the Senate passed in a 100-0 vote an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution sponsored by Sen. Landrieu, to reserve funds for the bill, but the measure was stripped out of the bill by the House leadership.
"We have voted time and time again to hand out relief to corporations for far less important reasons," Sen. Landrieu said. "Let us now take this opportunity to honor our troops by honoring those businesses who work to keep Guard and Reserve paychecks whole."