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Deal provides $534M in stop-loss bonuses

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[June 12, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House and Senate reached a compromise Thursday to give a $500 retroactive bonus to soldiers for every month they were forced to stay in the military beyond their enlistment term since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Rep. John Murtha, chairman of a key subcommittee that funds the military, said $534 million was allocated under the deal. His office says a total of 185,000 military members qualify because they have experienced "stop-loss" since 9/11.

Those eligible would have one year to claim the payment.

"I believe that if the Defense Department is going to insist on holding service members under stop-loss orders, then they should be compensated for their service," Murtha, D-Pa., said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Congress funded similar payments to about 12,000 troops who were currently under stop-loss orders, but the payments weren't retroactive beyond Oct. 1.

The Army has said it will start cutting back on the unpopular practice and hopes to almost completely eliminate it in two years. It's called a valuable tool to maintain continuity in a unit at war.

The deal has to be approved by both the House and Senate.

[Associated Press; By KIMBERLY HEFLING]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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