Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today introduced legislation to level the playing field on out-of-pocket expenses between National Guard and Reservists and all other federal employees.
"Today our National Guardsmen and Reservists are saddled with an unjustified personal financial burden," said Sen. Kerry. "These men and women already sacrifice years away from their families and loved ones in service to country and they do it without hesitation. They shouldn't suffer undue out-of-pocket costs as well. It's time to level the playing field and help our military men and women who so bravely defend us."
"I have heard from several Arkansas reservists, especially those who live in rural areas, who are struggling with significant out-of-pocket expenses when they have to travel due to their duties," Sen. Lincoln said. "By not easing this burden, particularly in these tough economic times, we are impairing our ability to recruit and retain quality men and women in the Guard and Reserves. And, minimizing the costs associated with travel to a drill site is simply the right thing to do for the thousands of brave and honorable service members who are training to defend our nation during a time of war."
Currently, National Guardsmen and Reservists cannot deduct duty-related expenses for overnight travel within 100 miles of their homes. Other federal government agencies reimburse expenses for a 50-mile minimum radius.
The Kerry-Lincoln bill will amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide National Guardsmen and Reservists with the same 50 mile radius. The legislation would go into effect December 31, 2010.