Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) recently introduced the REWARD Act: Ready Employers Willing to Assist Reservists Deployment Act to support Americans serving in the National Guard and Reserve when they are deployed on active duty. This bill provides incentives for employers to financially help Guard and Reservists that are called to active duty by providing employers a tax credit for their payroll costs when they continue to pay up to their full civilian salary. In addition, it also will provide a tax credit for the cost of a replacement employee while the Guard or Reservist is deployed.

Some employers have stepped up to the plate and continued to give their employees the pay difference so their families do not suffer undue hardships, said Poe. However, employers are not required to do this and the number of companies that practice this is small and dwindling. Many of these employers have good intentions toward supporting our military, but may not be able to financially keep up these policies for the duration of a long deployment. This bill will help make that possible.

Many members of the National Guard and Reserve must leave their day jobs after being called up to active duty. Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the number of Guard members and Reservists called up to serve on active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. In many cases, their full military pay is often less than their full civilian pay, said Poe. This creates a hardship for their families who are forced to make ends meet on much less pay. This bill will encourage more companies to help our troops and will help to continue the support of companies that already provide this service as the Global War on Terror continues.

This bipartisan legislation has the support of fellow Texan, Congressman Chet Edwards. I am extremely pleased to welcome Rep. Chet Edwards as a cosponsor of this legislation, said Poe. With his distinguished reputation on veteran issues we will get this bill passed and encourage more companies to help our troops as the Global War on Terror continues. It is important that our brave young men and women serving our country have peace of mind that their families are taken care of at home.

REWARD Act has 26 original bipartisan cosponsors: Reps. Barrett (R-SC-3), Bartlett (R-MD-6), Bordallo (D-GU), Carter (R-TX-31), Diaz-Balart (R-FL-21), Edwards (D-TX-17), Fortuna (R-PR), Gingrey (R-GA-11), Gonzales (D-TX-20), Goodlate (R-VA-06), Green (D-TX-29), Hare (R-IL-17), Lamborn (R-CO-05), McCaul (R-TX-10), McCotter (R-MI-11), Murphy (D-PA-08), Musgrave (R-CO-04), Myrick (R-NC-09), Pearce (R-NM-02), Pitts (R-PA-16), Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05), Scott (D-GA-13), Shadegg (R-AZ-03), Souder (R-IN-03), Terry (R-NE-2), Wilson (R-SC-02).