Chairman Takano Speaks with Reserve Officers Association to Discuss how Reservists are Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Miguel R. Salazar
RIVERSIDE, CA— Last week, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke with Major General Jeffery Phillips (Ret.), Executive Director of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA), about Reserve and National Guard parity and how Reservists are faring throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as DoD stop movement orders disrupt servicemembers’ plans. See the full conversation here.
Watch the full conversation here.
“Thank you for joining us Major General Phillips-- we’re grateful to have you here with us virtually,” said Chairman Takano. “Our Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity has been hard at work to address the pay gaps and differences in benefits that too many servicemembers are experiencing because of their orders. It was egregious in the eyes of many in the public because even though our Reservists are not facing combat, they are still being put in harm's way to fight the pandemic and be there to erect mobile hospitals. But many Reservists have their federal orders stopped just a day short of being eligible for benefits. Benefits should be tied to individual days served, not arbitrary minimum thresholds. To help resolve this issue, Representative Levin introduced the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act. If this becomes the law, I think this would really help your members a lot. Thank you so much for our time together, I look forward to working with you.”
“I very much appreciate your support, Mr. Chairman,” said Major General Jeffrey Phillips (Ret). “I have an anecdote that goes back to 1995--remember the Reserve was denied rights because their orders were cut short? This is shot through the fabric and the way ROA looks at this is, yes, it is an issue of individual fairness for the members of the Reserve and Guard, but given the increasing difficulty of the force to recruit and retain a goal, this is a readiness issue. The ROA put out an op-ed a few weeks ago regarding the curtailment of some orders for members of the Guard and Reserve a day shy or so before they could attain certain benefits. This has been going on for a long time, and it is really an issue of the Reserve with the operations tempo being what it is. Law and policy haven’t quite caught up with reality. Thank you Mr. Chairman and thanks for your support.”