The House of Representatives today approved an amendment to a defense bill offered by U.S. Rep. Tom Petri to compensate National Guard troops for miscalculated leave time. The amendment was passed by voice vote.
The amendment would correct a government error to pay approximately 575 Army National Guard troops for the vacation days they earned through the Post Deployment Mobilization Respite Absence program that they were unable to take after their last deployment. Some have not been reimbursed for as long as five years.
Soldiers in Wisconsin are affected more than those in any other state with 80 Wisconsin Army National Guardsmen impacted, most of whom are members of the 1157th Transportation Company based in Oshkosh. The 1157th is once again serving overseas after deploying to Afghanistan just last month.
While the number of leave days due to each soldier varies, it is estimated that Petri's amendment would give an average payment of $5,100 to affected soldiers in Wisconsin.
"This is a simple matter of giving our troops what they are clearly owed," said Petri. "They are putting their lives on the line overseas, and they deserve to have us fix this."
Petri's amendment incorporates H.R. 3863, the Fair Military Leave Act, which Petri introduced along with Congressman Ron Kind on February 1. Senator Herb Kohl has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.