Democratic lawmakers are pushing Defense Department leaders to ensure travel restrictions on troops related to coronavirus outbreaks that do not result in financial disasters for their families. In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper this weekend, a group of 26 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate warned about the “undesirable effects” of an order to stop the movement issued by military leaders at the end of March. These restrictions cover most of the permanent changes from station movement and limit the travel of troops to only a few miles from the base assigned to them. Department of Defense officials announced in mid-April that the restrictions would be extended to 30 June. Veterans ‘supporters have recognized the need for the measure, which is designed to limit service members’ exposure to the possibility of corona virus infection. More than 65,000 Americans have died from complications related to the disease in the past eight weeks. But outside groups have also noted that new military travel rules may have left several military families with two payments for housing: one at the location where they plan to move, and one at the base where they are asked to remain now. MPs say some financial protection must be given to those individuals. 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They have requested a review of the current DoD authority “to provide compensation and assistance to military families” who are facing financial difficulties because of the new rules. The group also asked for a full count of how many military families might be affected by the dual housing problem, and when the PCS movement could continue. Defense officials have not yet responded to the latest MP request. More than 100,000 troops, together with families, prepare for the permanent annual station season. The letter follows a similar message from 36 Democratic Council members in mid-April asking for “immediate” financial assistance for the families, noting that individual base commanders have limits on how much emergency money they can distribute to troops for housing difficulties. .
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