(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Max Rose (NY-11) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) and more than 70 bipartisan lawmakers in urging the Department of Defense (DOD) to extend the activations of men and women in the National Guard for the duration of the President’s emergency and disaster declarations so they can continue to assist with the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Current activations are set to expire on June 24, 2020.
The call comes after it was reported that the June 24 deadline would fall just short of the 90 days of service required for many members of the National Guard to qualify for certain federal benefits, including the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Today’s letter requests an explanation of the expiration date. In response to the call, the Trump administration is weighing whether to extend National Guard activations, according to reports Tuesday evening.
“This deadline would leave many Guardsmen just shy of the 90 days of service required to qualify for certain benefits, like the Post-9/11 GI Bill. While we hope this is a coincidence, not policy, we request an explanation of the choice of expiration date,” the members wrote. “To battle this unprecedented crisis, we asked our neighbors in uniform to serve our nation in its time of need, and we hope the Department has not—and will not—nickel-and-dime its Soldiers and Airmen.”
“We urge you to continue to allow states to utilize one of the most effective tools at their disposal,” the members continued. “Cutting off your Department’s support to our states on June 24th would undermine our whole-of-nation response and shift the full burden to states whose budgets are already under great strain. We therefore ask that you consult with our governors to continue National Guard deployments for the duration of this crisis.”
You can view full text of the letter here.