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Jim Graalum, Fargo, Published August 05 2013

Where is senator on legislation?

I would like to thank Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., for her opinion column in support of veterans in The Forum on July 28 in which she states, “It is my honor to represent our brave veterans as a U.S. senator, and I will always work to fulfill our sacred commitment to those who have served our nation.”

Given her support of veterans, I was wondering why she hasn’t co-sponsored two important Senate bills that have great impacts on veterans. The first bill is S.240, the Reserve Retirement Deployment Credit Correction Act, which is a bill to modify the calculation of days of active service used to reduce the minimum age at which a member of the National Guard or reserve may retire. Co-sponsors of this bill are: Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The other bill is S.234, the Retired Pay Restoration Act. This bill would permit retired members of the uniformed services who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive full concurrent receipt of both retired pay and veterans disability compensation, including Chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service.

Co-sponsors of this bill are Johnson, Baucus and Tester. In her final comment in the previously mentioned editorial, your response to the question of how to pay veterans services was “How can we not afford it?” If she truly does support the Guard/Reserve veterans, she should co-sponsor both of these bills and vote in favor of getting these important bills passed.

Graalum is U.S. Army Reserve, retired.