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Bill Would Revamp Federal Hiring Preferences for Guardsmen

Hiring Event
Hiring Event
Washington Report

More than 20 members of Congress have signed onto new legislation to update antiquated federal hiring preferences that are unfair to members of the National Guard.

The Veterans’ Preference Parity Act, H.R. 5927, was introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., last week. Twenty-one bipartisan members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, including co-chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; Rep Steve Womack, R-Ark., a retired Army Guard colonel; and Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., a current Air Guard captain.

The bill has also been endorsed by NGAUS and other veterans groups, including the Reserve Officers Association and Fleet Reserve Association.

If passed, Hartzler said the bill would update statutes that currently restrict many service members from qualifying for veterans’ preference points when competing for federal positions. She said existing guidelines are “particularly unfair to Reserve and National Guard members and do not accurately reflect the manner in which the reserve component is utilized today.”

“Whether in the Reserves, National Guard, or on active duty, our service members have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation’s safety and security,” the congresswoman said. “However, outdated federal hiring rules prevent many of these patriots from being recognized when competing for federal positions.”

Current federal hiring preference rules require more than 180 consecutive days of active-duty time for service members to qualify. The Veterans’ Preference Parity Act would change the requirement to a nondiscriminatory total day threshold.

“This change will allow Reserve and National Guard members to have an equal opportunity to qualify for veterans’ preference points when competing for federal positions,” Hartzler said.

The legislation would also remove a rank-based restriction for any service member who retires at major or higher.