Minnesota Congressman John Kline sent a letter to the Pentagon urging the Department of Defense, once again, to give Minnesota's Red Bulls the paid leave they were promised and earned.
"Our Minnesota Red Bulls haven't simply fallen through a crack, they've fallen into the bureaucratic canyon of a broken Pentagon process," said Kline, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. "This delay is beyond unacceptable, and the Pentagon must give these soldiers what they've earned."
In May, Kline championed bipartisan legislation through the House of Representatives ensuring the Minnesota National Guard and more than 49,000 men and women in uniform nationwide would receive the benefits they earned. Kline's bill (H.R. 4045) grandfathered members of the Guard and Reserves affected by the Pentagon's change to the Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) program to ensure they could receive the paid leave they were promised. Sen. Amy Klobuchar quickly championed a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, and the President signed it into law.
Unfortunately, the department waited 41 days to implement Kline's law, making it impossible for Minnesota's Red Bulls to take the leave they earned.
After a phone meeting Thursday with Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Erin Conaton, Kline sent a letter to the Pentagon:
"Our troops deserve better It took 41 days for your department to publish the guidance that our services require to implement the [paid leave] policy. This delay is unacceptable. I urge you to direct your staff to correct this problem and give these soldiers what they've earned. At this time, only a fraction of the soldiers this law would have helped will be able to take their leave. As a result, our soldiers are frustrated and feel betrayed by their leadership, and I urge you to do everything you can to help them."
John Kline serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He also is the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.