Tens of thousands of National Guardsmen were promised increased benefits before they were deployed last year, and on Tuesday they came one step closer to getting them. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that could give some Guardsmen as much as one month more of paid time off, the Star Tribune reports.
The bill, which is expected to be passed by the Senate in the near future, seeks to correct a discrepancy that affected around 49,000 members of the National Guard across the country. The Pentagon issued limitations on paid time off in October, but many troops deployed before then, and advocates say they are entitled to their original amount of paid time off.
"When they went, they were promised a benefit," Tim Walz, a former National Guard member, told the newspaper. "When they returned, it was cut in half."
Making sure the National Guard gets the correct benefits is especially crucial now, given the important role its troops played in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to The Associated Press, in 2005 nearly half of the troops in both countries were National Guard or Reserve members.