Senate Democrats

Reid To Gates: Troops Should Not Have To Foot The Bill For War

In letter, Senate Majority Leader asks Defense Secretary Gates for inquiry into baggage fees charged to service members by airlines

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote today to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, asking for assistance for military servicemembers being forced by airlines to pay baggage fees of up to $100 per piece to carry their gear while traveling on orders.  While the troops are eligible for reimbursement, Reid believes it is an unnecessary hardship on men and women going into battle to front the costs and worry about filing claims for their transportation.
The text of the letter follows:

August 14, 2008

Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C.  20301-1000
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing to express my concern regarding recent reports that military servicemembers traveling on orders by commercial air are being forced to pay fees for extra and overweight baggage.  I was dismayed to learn that in some cases, even troops returning from Iraq are paying $100 out of pocket to check their bags, an unacceptable burden under any circumstances.
I am aware that these fees are reimbursable; however, it should not be necessary for these dedicated members of our military to pay up front and wait for their travel claims to be settled before being paid.  Our men and women who deploy already pay a heavy price for their service; they should not have to foot the bill for their transportation to and from the theater of operations.
I urge you to inquire into this situation, and to implement an appropriate remedy.  I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.
                        HARRY REID                                                    
                        United States Senator

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