REIMBURSING MEMBERS OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FOR CERTAIN TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES -- (House of Representatives - March 30, 2004)
Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the Senate bill (S. 2057) to require the Secretary of Defense to reimburse members of the United States Armed Forces for certain transportation expenses incurred by the members in connection with leave under the Central Command Rest and Recuperation Leave Program before the program was expanded to include domestic travel.
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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, as a longtime supporter of the military, I was dismayed to learn that U.S. troops were forced to pay their way home from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, while on rest and recuperation leave.
Late last year, Congress enacted legislation, which I supported, requiring the Department of Defense to provide travel and transportation allowances to military personnel serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of December 19, 2003, the Department began covering these costs. Unfortunately, a number of soldiers who were issued leave beginning on September 25, 2003 were not eligible for travel reimbursement. Today, the Congress has rectified this discrepancy by ensuring that all of our soldiers will be reimbursed for their travel while on leave.
I am well aware of the current demands faced by American soldiers and the sacrifices made by family members and loved ones. American soldiers have always excelled in their military duties and at a time when many of our troops are deployed for a year or more, it is imperative that Congress and the federal government adequately provide for them.