NGAUS Legislative staff remains engaged with Congress, despite closure of Congressional office space to the public, and the Trump administration as the COVID-19 national emergency and consideration of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 defense legislation continues.
Congress passed and President Trump signed into law H.R.8337, a continuing resolution (CR) to provide the federal government with funding until December 11. However, Congress has not yet approved FY21 defense authorization or appropriations legislation.
The House of Representatives also passed an updated version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act on October 1. As a result of NGAUS advocacy, the legislation includes:
- Authorization for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers to receive mental health care at Veteran Centers for those who have deployed more than 14 days in support of COVID-19 response missions.
- Veteran survivor benefit eligibility for National Guard servicemembers who respond and later die due to responding to COVID-19.
- Additional funding to procure personal protective equipment across all military services.
Significant standalone legislation recently introduced includes:
- H.R.8449, The Veterans’ Sentinel Act, introduced by Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.). This legislation would respond to suicides by veterans at VA facilities by improving data collection accuracy and enhancing Congressional oversight.
- S.4743, introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). This legislation would allow Non-commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers to work on civil works in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts; a priority of the NGAUS Army Engineer Task Force.
Finally, NGAUS legislative staff and Task Forces are working diligently to identify top FY22 NGAUS legislative priorities. These priorities will be based on resolutions adopted at the 142nd NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition held online earlier this year. Please visit the NGAUS Resolutions webpage to view approved FY22 NGAUS standing resolutions here.