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Minnesota soldiers, others receive pay exemption

MINNEAPOLIS — President Obama is expected to sign legislation within the next week that will help more than 2,000 Minnesota soldiers recoup paid time-off benefits promised before they were shipped overseas last year.

In a rare show of bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the legislation that not only affects Minnesota National Guard members, but more than 49,000 troops nationwide.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar was instrumental in pushing the bill in the Senate and Republican Congressman John Kline did the same in the House. It exempts troops who were deployed before the Pentagon issued new restrictions last October that limits paid time off. The troops, including members of Minnesota’s famed “Red Bulls,” of which Albert Lea’s Delta Company is a part of, could have lost a month of paid time.