U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted with a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to ensure our troops have the time at home they need. The Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act was approved by a vote of 229-194.

“Our local military families are under an enormous strain due to the length and number of deployments being required of them.  This bill will give them a chance to recover, reconnect, rest and train before they return to the battlefield,” Smith said. 

The legislation mandates minimum periods of rest and recuperation for units and members of regular and reserve components of our Armed Forces between deployments. The bill requires that units or members of a regular component of the Armed Forces be given an equivalent amount of time at home compared to the length of their deployment before returning to the theater.  National Guard and reservists would be home for three times the length of the deployments. 

The bill would allow the President to waive these requirements on an individual or unit-level basis if necessary to meet national security needs of the country, and would exempt special operations forces from the rest-time requirement.

The Administration’s failed policies in Iraq have depleted our military and put a tremendous strain on our troops. An estimated 250,000 soldiers in the Army and Marine Corps have served more than one tour in Iraq and each of the Army’s available active duty combat brigades served at least a 12-month tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. This spring, the Defense Secretary announced that all active duty Army soldiers would have their tours in Iraq extended from 12 to 15 months.

The legislation was backed by a bipartisan majority in Congress and was supported by Veterans for America and the Reserve Enlisted Association.