Obama signs Kline-Klobuchar National Guard benefits billby Brett Neely, Minnesota Public Radio
WASHINGTON — Just in time for Memorial Day, President Barack Obama has signed a law restoring paid leave time to Minnesota National Guard soldiers.
Getting a bill to the president was a bipartisan accomplishment for Minnesota's congressional delegation.
In the middle of a deployment to Kuwait and Afghanistan last year, members of Minnesota's Red Bull Brigade were surprised to learn that the Pentagon had changed the formula for how much leave the soldiers earned, effective immediately. Some of the soldiers were set to lose as much as 27 days of leave.
While the policy change affected nearly 50,000 Guard troops nationwide, it was a pair of Minnesota lawmakers who took the lead to alter it.
Led by Republican Rep. John Kline in the House and Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the Senate, they succeeded with overwhelming support in both chambers.
The bill that's now been signed into law means that any National Guard soldier deployed under the old leave policy will get to keep the time off he or she earned.