Nearly 70 House lawmakers ask leadership to reimburse National Guard for Jan. 6 response
A group of 70 bipartisan House lawmakers penned a letter to House and Senate leaders demanding a deal be reached so the National Guard can be reimbursed for its five-month deployment at the Capitol.
The letter is being led by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Steve Warnock (R-Ark.) after the Pentagon and Army secretary warned that a lack of reimbursement from the federal government would cause training issues.
The National Guard was deployed from all around the country to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and stayed in Washington, D.C., until May.
The total cost of the stay is around $521 million.
“Department of Defense (DOD) leadership has stated that without a commitment to reimburse the Guard by July 1st, 2021, preparations will begin to cancel August and September annual training and individual duty training assemblies,” Warnock and Bustos said in a press release of the letter.
“Without immediate action, the brave volunteers of our National Guard will suffer and the National Guard Bureau estimates its readiness will decrease by fifteen to twenty percent. We urge you to swiftly come to an agreement on emergency appropriations that includes full reimbursement for the National Guard,” they added.
The House-passed bill for Capitol security included funding to reimburse the National Guard, but the money cannot be released until the Senate finishes its bill.
“If trainings are canceled, several thousand Army National Guard Soldiers will not have enough service time this fiscal year to receive credit for a good year toward a military retirement. Approximately 2,000 training schools will be canceled, affecting their readiness, pay and career progression. Ground vehicle and rotary wing operations and maintenance will be halted. Facilities will degrade, including the delay of critical fire safety projects in Maryland, Minnesota and the Virgin Islands,” the letter to leadership states.
“Air National Guard flying operations will be negatively impacted as they begin recovery from the negative readiness effects of the pandemic. Without reimbursement this fiscal year, it will take years to recover our readiness,” the letter continues.
An agreement will need to be reached on emergency appropriations before the National Guard can receive the money it needs.