Klobuchar, Cornyn introduce bipartisan legislation to give Sinai stationed troops full benefits
For troops assigned to the Sinai Peninsula, their pay is not excluded from their income taxes as it is for troops serving in designated combat zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan; Since June 2015, the Sinai Peninsula has seen significant increases ...
For troops assigned to the Sinai Peninsula, their pay is not excluded from their income taxes as it is for troops serving in designated combat zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan; Since June 2015, the Sinai Peninsula has seen significant increases in hostile force activity, including attacks by the ISIS affiliate in the Sinai.
The Sinai Service Recognition Act designates the Sinai Peninsula as a "combat zone," which would allow troops assigned there to receive the same benefits as the rest of the military
Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, have introduced bipartisan legislation to give Sinai stationed troops full benefits.
"For decades, Minnesota National Guard and Reserve servicemembers deployed to the Sinai Peninsula have played an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the region," Klobuchar stated in a news release. "As terrorist groups like ISIS spread throughout the region, the dangers these servicemembers face has increased. Current rules regarding benefits for those serving in the Sinai do not reflect these new threats. Our legislation rights this wrong and helps to ensure that those serving in harm's way get the benefits they deserve."
The U.S. has deployed service members to the Sinai Peninsula since 1982 to perform a peacekeeping function. The U.S. contingent is now roughly 725 service members, the last increase being September 2015.
The Department of Defense designated the Sinai Peninsula as a "Qualified Hazardous Duty Area" on June 9, 2015, due to the dangerous conditions. Since then, U.S. troops there have received hostile fire/ imminent danger pay and hazardous duty pay-location. However, the president has not designated the Sinai Peninsula as a "Combat Zone," and the Defense Department has resisted such a move.
Since September 2016, six troops (four Americans) have been wounded during patrols. There have been occasions of air incidents, arms fire, and suspected rocket fire.
The Sinai Service Recognition Act provides for the Sinai Peninsula to be "treated in the same manner as if it were a combat zone," granting troops deployed there the same tax-free treatment as those who are deployed to designated combat zones.
Klobuchar's office reported the senator has worked in a bipartisan manner to modernize G.I. Bill benefits for American troops and to strengthen funding veterans' health care. She has also authored bipartisan bills on behalf of our nation's veterans and their families to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, expand job training and employment opportunities, cut red tape and wait times for veterans scheduling appointments at VA Medical Facilities, and to reduce veterans' homelessness.