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Defense

H.R.651: United States-Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Act of 2011

Important Points:

  • Demands that the President pursue a SOFA as soon as possible, rather than wait until the 2014 NATO deadline
  • Would prohibit permanent US bases in Afghanistan
  • Would demand complete redeployment of US armed forces, civilian personnel, and civilian contractors within one year as a contingent of the SOFA
  • Would require that any continued presence would be temporary and only at the request of the Afghan government

Blue Votes: Yay

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H.R.687: Military Spouses Employment Act

Open Congress Summary: “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make employers of spouses of military personnel eligible for the work opportunity credit.”

Blue Says (from my letter to my Rep): Rep. John Carter [R-TX] has introduced a bill that could reward the kind of moral behavior I’m talking about. H.R. 687, the Military Spouses Employment Act, would give a tax break to businesses that hire military spouses.

I work for such a business. One that has acted with integrity and morals. A business that has only 27 employees and has managed to avoid layoffs despite a depression in our industry.

I am also the wife of a deployed active duty Senior Airman. My employer has been very understanding and supportive of the demands of a military lifestyle. They even allowed me to extend my maternity leave to make the most of my husband’s time home and are developing a work plan so I can be retained after our next PCS.

Besides the benefits to the company and myself, the state of Nebraska is benefiting. We are in a higher tax bracket, I was able to buy a more efficient car, my daughter can attend a local daycare, and we’ve starting saving for her college education while making payments on our own.

But not all military spouses are given these benefits. In fact, many businesses are hesitant to even hire military spouses, which is why we see unemployment rates as high as 25% among military spouses at some bases. This bill’s potential economic benefit to military families and to local business is huge, especially in Nebraska.

Blue Votes: Yay

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S.J.Res.20: A joint resolution authorizing the limited use of United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya

Important Points:

  • Emphasizes that Operation Odyssey Dawn and Operation Unified Protector are NATO missions given authority by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973
  • Would prohibit ground combat operations except to rescue US or NATO personnel or forces
  • Would prohibit deployment for reconstruction efforts
  • Would require the President to brief Congress on operations every 30 days

Blue Votes: Yay

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