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May 15, 2012 -- Congresswoman McCollum's Statement on Keeping Our Promise to Minnesota’s Veterans (H.R. 4045)

May 15, 2012
Statements For the Record

I rise in strong support of H.R. 4045.  This bill will ensure that all service members returning from overseas—including the Minnesota National Guard’s ‘Red Bulls’— receive the full benefits they were promised.

Last year, after more than 2,000 of Minnesota’s brave soldiers had already been mobilized for war, the Department of Defense reduced the amount of leave that service members can receive under the Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) Program.  For the Pentagon to apply this change to soldiers already deployed is simply unacceptable.  Our men and women in uniform must be able to count on the benefits their nation promised them when they left home.

H.R. 4045 will correct this serious error by exempting service members, like the Red Bulls, who had already deployed before the Pentagon’s policy shift.  

The passage of this bill is a victory for the entire Minnesota Delegation.  I applaud my colleagues for coming together on behalf of the Minnesota Red Bulls, and all service members and their families.

America’s men and women in uniform dedicate their lives to defending our nation and its values, and we are all grateful for their outstanding service and incredible sacrifice.

As the daughter of a World War II disabled veteran and member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, it is a special honor to work on behalf of those who have served our country by ensuring that they receive every benefit they have earned.

I thank Congressman Kline and those of us who have spent years working on this issue.  As the Red Bulls return to Minnesota from another deployment, they can do so knowing that the entire Minnesota Congressional Delegation has their back.

I urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.