Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the investigation is underway into why members of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard who had been on active duty were denied some education benefits. Braley says the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he serves on has requested specific documents from the Department of Defense relating to the Army error leading to a denial of the benefits.
Braley says the request asked that the documents be turned over by November 15th and he is pleased to see that it was a bipartisan effort by the committee. Nearly 600 members of the Iowa National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry based in Waterloo were denied the benefits after their tour fell just days short of the required time — despite the fact the troops had served in the longest continuous deployment of any ground combat unit serving in Iraq.
Braley says the committee has requested several documents, including the orders issued denying benefits. He says they also asked whether the National Guard and Army responded appropriately to rectify the problem, third, whether there are other units that might be impacted, and whether the National Guard and Army are putting procedures in place to maximize the soldier’s eligibility for benefits.
Braley says the next step is to wait to see what the documents show. Braley says he will be working closely with the committee staff and leadership to ensure they get an appropriate response to the request for documents and that there is appropriate follow up. Braley says so far he is happy with the response he has gotten and the assurances that the problem will be taken care of, but says he will be watching closely to see that those promises are kept.