Chairman Takano Speaks with National Guard Association of the United States to Discuss Impact On National Guard During Pandemic
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Miguel R. Salazar
RIVERSIDE, CA — This week, House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke with retired Brigadier General J. Roy Robinson, President of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), about how National Guard members are serving throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and how Congress can better support them. They also discussed Representative Mike Levin's Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act (H.R. 5870) that would be an important step towards achieving parity for members of the National Guard and Reserves. These members undergo similar training and take on many of the same missions as active duty servicemembers, but do not receive equal benefits. See the full conversation with General J. Roy Robinson here.
Watch the full conversation here
"Benefits should be tied to individual days served and not arbitrary minimum thresholds. The Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act is an example of what duty status reform should look like, since it provides servicemembers with more opportunities to earn GI Bill eligibility," said Chairman Takano. “Last week, I would have just spoken about the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the work that many National Guard units have been doing around the country with regard to responding to the novel coronavirus. But of course over the weekend, we’ve seen the Minnesota National Guard called into action by someone who was a guardsman himself, Governor Walz. My thoughts are with him and all guard units around our country doing the hard work of this pandemic but also doing the work to help keep the peace. I appreciate your members-- we all know about the critical work they've been doing, so thank you for joining me and thank you to all of our National Guard members."
"I'm grateful for your interest in National Guard issues, Mr. Chairman, and NGAUS is appreciative of your help on these issues,” said General J. Roy Robinson. “We need to get away from this component-based benefits system. I have all the confidence in the world that one day, with the help of Congress, soldiers and airmen will get day-to-day service for whatever they do. Representative Levin’s H.R. 5870 makes a lot of sense because it gives credit for benefits for every day that members of the National Guard spend in uniform without regard to status. If we tap into all the different resources available to us, we can benefit soldiers and their families, and I hope the Veterans Administration can be involved in that. Thank you so much."
For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources available for veterans, please visit: https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.
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