Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says overdue payments to some 800 Iowa National Guard members should soon be on the way. The pay is called “respite leave.” Braley says if a soldier is required to serve in a combat area longer than the designated period, then you are eligible for time off or $200 a day “for having that burden placed on you and your family.”
Braley says there are 22,000 guard members nationwide who qualify. Iowa guard members and others were left without the pay because of a delay in when the program was announced and the time it was implemented. A House bill sponsored by Braley, and one in the Senate by Iowan Chuck Grassley, was approved in October to authorize the Army to pay the soldiers.
Braley says things are now falling into place to see it happen. He says the Department of Defense issued the necessary guidance on February 1st and the Department of Army this week issued the written guidelines. Braley says the Iowa National Guard is expected to announce Friday the process they plan to follow to get the payments to soldiers.
Braley says the issue first came to light two years ago when the members of the 1133rd Transportation company returned from a record deployment and members said they were not eligible for the pay.