WASHINGTON (WCCO) — Some 2,000 Minnesota Red Bulls and more than 45,000 other National Guard troops nationwide are only a single vote away from having a much needed financial benefit restored to their military service package.
“It’s one of those things that should not have happened,” said former marine, now republican U.S. Rep. John Kline to WCCO’s Dave Lee following passage of a bill Tuesday.
It will restore up to 27 days of paid leave to nearly 50,000 guard members nationwide, 2,000 of which are here as part of the Minnesota Red Bull contingent.
Kline who was angry that Pentagon officials played a classic “bait and switch” with soldiers — promising a month of paid leave for them to re-enlist for extended deployment, then drastically reducing paid leave, after many had signed on the dotted line.
“Our soldiers deployed, the pentagon then changed the program on October 1st and did not ‘grandfather’ our soldiers in, thereby causing them to lose up to 27 days of this paid, leave. It’s just not fair,” said Kline.
The U.S. Senate is now taking up the bill where it is expected to easily pass on a bipartisan line.
“Senator (Amy) Klobuchar has got the bill in the Senate, they are working to push it through the Senate now, and I am feeling pretty good about finally being able to step up and do the right thing for our troops,” said Kline.
Kline said fulfilling the promise is not only the moral thing to do, but soldiers need the paid leave to aid their assimilation back into civilian life.