Tuesday, May 5, 2009

War-funding bill to OK retro stop-loss pay

War-funding bill to OK retro stop-loss pay

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Monday May 4, 2009 17:11:12 EDT

By week’s end, about 170,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — many of them no longer in service — who were involuntarily kept on active duty by stop-loss orders before Oct. 1, 2008, could be cheering Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

At Murtha’s urging, the 2009 emergency war funding bill that will be taken up Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee includes money and authority to retroactively pay $500 for each month someone served under stop-loss orders from Sept. 11, 2001 through Sept. 30, 2008.

The bill would extend benefits to those who were left out last fall when Congress ordered stop-loss payments that applied only to people held on active-duty after the bill became law.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the House Appropriations Committee chairman, said the retroactive stop-loss allowances will cost about $734.4 million of the $81.6 billion included in the supplemental for defense and intelligence costs related to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

The $500 would apply to any month in which a person served as little as one day under stop loss. Last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the average period of stop loss was 6½ months, which means the average person who received stop-loss orders would get seven months of payments, or $3,500.

That would be tax-free for any month in which they were in a combat zone for any amount of time, and taxable for any month they were not.

While Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers make up the bulk of those who would be helped by the bill, people from every branch of the service would get money because all the services used stop loss orders to prevent retirements and separations after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

In addition to money for stop-loss allowances, the supplemental funding bill will include $44.8 billion for operations and personnel costs, $1.2 billion for defense health programs aimed specifically at military families and about $500 million for U.S. commanders to spend in Iraq and Afghanistan on humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects, Obey said.
War-funding bill to OK retro stop-loss pay

Good news for all those deprived veterans that were shafted

Sphere: Related Content