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Dems Set To Pass Retroactive Stop-Loss Bonuses

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Because we overreached so much during the past eight years, the practice of stop-loss was an unfortunate and common reality for many soldiers who would have otherwise left the military.

Now we’re honoring their forced service with more than a pat on the back.

From AP:

WASHINGTON -The House and Senate reached a compromise Thursday to give a $500 retroactive bonus to soldiers for every month they were forced to stay in the military beyond their enlistment term since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Rep. John Murtha, chairman of a key subcommittee that funds the military, said $534 million was allocated under the deal. His office says a total of 185,000 military members qualify because they have experienced “stop-loss” since 9/11.

Those eligible would have one year to claim the payment. […]

Earlier this year, Congress funded similar payments to about 12,000 troops who were currently under stop-loss orders, but the payments weren’t retroactive beyond Oct. 1.

So why was this bill even needed? Why did they have to work on retroactivity now?

Because some opposed it last time around, and my guess is they weren’t Democrats. I could be wrong about that, but the initial legislation was proposed by Dems, and Repubs still hadn’t suffered that crushing 21 seat loss in November or lost the rest of their subcommittee leadership positions.

Here’s what a former solider who served 14 months of stop loss had to say back in late October 2008…

The original proposal called for $1,500 for each month under stop-loss. Enough legislators balked that the $1,500 soon dropped to $500, which was approved by the House subcommittee. In the Senate, the payments met further resistance. “We thought it was a no-brainer,” a legislative aide who worked on the bill said. “Why would you not want to compensate a soldier who is being forced away from his home and family, and forced to risk his life?” Proponents considered a compromise of $200 per month for those whose stop-loss has already been served, but opted to stay at $500 and work on retroactivity next year. The bill requires that the Pentagon conduct a feasibility study for retroactive payments.

Who here thinks that soldiers should have received the originally proposed $1,500 per month?