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Department of Defense Program Guidance Modification Relating to Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence Administrative Absence Days

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALZ of Minnesota. I thank the gentlelady from Guam who, as always, is an absolute stalwart supporter of our military forces and has a long tradition, coming from Guam, in defense of this Nation.

Also, a special thank you to Colonel KLINE, my colleague from Minnesota, for his unwavering support of our veterans and for bringing this forward and trying to correct this injustice.

You've heard it today, Madam Speaker, about a change in policy. And while a stroke of the pen at the Pentagon may not seem like that much, it impacts our veterans and their families. These are folks that have deployed, in many cases, three times. For example, the Red Bulls from Minnesota: once for 9 months, once for 22 months, and once for a year.

We came up, as a Nation, to make the determination that these folks should have a little bit of time of leave when they come back, readjust with their families, see children they maybe have never celebrated a birthday with, and then try to go back and get into the job market.

As a Nation, these are our best and brightest. These are our future leaders. We want them getting readjusted. We want them back into the job market. And by the Pentagon changing this midstream, it's not so much the financial or the monetary insult; it's the insult to what these folks went through. When they went, they were promised a benefit. When they came back, we had cut it in half.

We hear a lot about a 99 and a 1 percent. There is a 99 and a 1 percent in this country--1 percent who are serving in uniform and have served overseas, 99 percent of us who have benefited from that sacrifice.

So I commend the delegation. I commend this House. If there is an issue that binds this Nation together, it's the absolute unwavering support of those who are willing to lay down their lives and sacrifice time with their families to serve each and every one of us. The least we can do is make sure that the benefits that were promised, that were guaranteed, are delivered upon. It's the right thing to do. It's the right thing for the country. It binds us together.

And I want to thank all of the folks here who made this possible. I urge my colleagues to support this piece of legislation.


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