BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
S. 2060. A bill to provide for the payment of a benefit to members eligible for participation in the Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program for days of nonparticipation due to Government error; to the Committee on Armed Services.
Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Fair Military Leave Act. This legislation fixes a problem that is preventing some of our brave servicemembers from using benefits that they earned after serving multiple or extended deployments overseas.
In 2007, the military established the Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence Program, or PDMRA, to assist men and women who are ordered to deploy beyond the established standards for troop rotation by providing extra paid leave when they return home. Unfortunately, a mistake during demobilization prevented some soldiers from receiving the paid leave they earned. The Army's records indicate that this problem affects 577 soldiers across the country, including 80 in Wisconsin.
These soldiers have since gotten their military records corrected to reflect the days of PDMRA leave they were supposed to receive. However, the only way for these soldiers to use this benefit is to take extra paid leave on a future deployment. For those soldiers who will not deploy again or who have left the military entirely, this remedy does not work.
Mistakes happen, but they need to be fixed. The Fair Military Leave Act gives troops the option of cashing out the leave they were incorrectly denied when they came home. This solution is modeled after legislation Congress passed in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010. As with that bill, the Fair Military Leave Act reimburses soldiers at a rate of $200 per day of PDMRA that they were incorrectly denied.
I am pleased to have the senior Senator from Oregon join me as an original cosponsor of this legislation. My friend from Oregon led the effort to fix the earlier problem with PDMRA benefits in the 2010 defense authorization.
The men and women of our Armed Forces have done so much for our country, and we should not drag our feet in making this right. These troops earned their PDMRA benefit, and they should be allowed to use it.