Max Rose slams ‘heartless’ WH decision to end National Guard deployments one day before they can claim benefits

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) slammed the White House’s decision to end the National Guard’s deployments the day before they can claim benefits in a Tuesday statement. 

Rose criticized President Trump’s administration for deciding to stop deployments on June 24, the day before thousands of National Guard members would qualify for early retirement and education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill.

The New York lawmaker called for the decision to be reversed because it is “unpatriotic [and] economically unsound.” 

“Intentionally ending orders one day short of a deadline for National Guard soldiers to receive benefits for their heroic sacrifices is the definition of heartless,” he said. 

“In peace time we should never balance our budget on the backs of our soldiers,” he added, “so why anyone would think this is okay to do in the middle of a wartime effort is beyond human comprehension.”

The White House’s approval of the National Guard deployment to assist during the pandemic gave them federal pay and benefits and put them under the command of state governors through May 31. The administration reportedly further extended the National Guard deployment to June 24 — one day short of the 90-day benchmark for benefits to go into effect, Politico reported Tuesday

A National Guard Bureau spokesman told The Hill in a statement that it is working with the Defense Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “determine the best ways to care for our Guard men and women in this unprecedented response.”

The spokesman added that FEMA makes the final decisions on how long National Guard members are activated.

“We are always supportive of policies that provide National Guard soldiers and airmen with benefits that match the service they provide to their communities, states, and our nation,” he said.

A FEMA spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests, which the government will fund fully through June 24. As of Tuesday, the National Guard has authorized 39,891 National Guard troops and an additional 891 troops in state active duty status. 

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Rose, a captain in the National Guard, deployed last month to help set up a COVID-19-only emergency hospital on Staten Island.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 deployment Donald Trump Max Rose National Guard National Guard benefits Post-9/11 GI bill United States National Guard White House

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