House Guard Caucus Leaders Introduce Bills Aimed at Benefits Parity

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Washington Report

The co-chairmen of the House National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus have introduced three bills that would more closely align Guard and Reserve benefits with those received by members of the active component.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., introduced the legislation last week. They include the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act of 2019, the Aviation Incentive Pay Parity Act and the National Guard and Reserves Retirement Pay Parity Act.

Two other House members, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., joined the pair in introducing one of the bipartisan bills, the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act.

Ryan said the bills are recognition of the hard work, dedication and sacrifice demonstrated by the Guardsmen and Reservists.

Palazzo, who serves in the Mississippi Army National Guard, said he would continue to advocate for equal access to education, health care and pension benefits for members of the reserve components.

“Members of the Guard and Reserve have been asked to fulfill similar responsibilities as their active-duty counterparts for nearly two decades,” Palazzo said. “We owe this fix to our men and women that serve in the Guard and Reserves.”

If passed into law, the three bills would bring a number of benefits in line with those received by active-component troops.

The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act of 2019 (H.R. 2952) would allow Guardsmen and Reservists to supplement federal tuition assistance with the Montgomery-GI Bill benefits.

The Aviation Incentive Pay Parity Act (H.R. 2953) would allow the services to pay Guard and Reserve aviators the same aviation incentive pay received by active-component pilots.

And the National Guard and Reserves Retirement Pay Parity Act (H.R. 2954) would provide early retirement credit to Guardsmen and Reservists mobilized under authority 12304b.

Reserve-component personnel mobilized under other authorities receive such credit.

“These bills are common sense and go a long way to ensuring members of the Guard and Reserve are treated fairly,” Ryan said.

Welch said Guard and Reserve troops put their lives on the line alongside their active-component counterparts and that “There is no reason that they shouldn’t have access to the same education benefits.”

And Armstrong said there is no doubt the benefits have been earned.

“After their service and sacrifice, the least we can do is make sure they are able to obtain a quality education,” he said. “I’m glad to co-sponsor this bipartisan bill to remove barriers to education benefits and I urge the House to take it up without delay.”
 

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