Congress passed and President Trump signed into law H.R. 133 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 into law on 27 December 2020. H.R. 133 is an omnibus appropriations that includes: Division C – Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act, 2021 legislation, Division J – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021 and Division M – Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021.
Division C – DoD Appropriations included:
- $950.0 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA), includes $285.0 million for ARNG and $285.0 million for ANG
- Funding for major weapons platforms for the Army, includes specific ARNG designations to procure UH/HH-60M Black Hawks, modernized UH-60V Black Hawks, modernized AH-64 Apaches, and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs)
- $100.0 million for the ARNG HMMWV modernization program
- $265.5 million for C-130 modernization, includes $180.0 million for NP2000 propeller upgrades and $79.0 million for T-56 engine Series 3.5 upgrades
- $75.0 million for F-16 Viper Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars for ANG
- $760.0 million to procure 8 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft including $570.0 million for 6 C-130Js specifically designated for ANG
- $56.9 million for C-130 modernization, includes $55.0 million for NP2000 propeller upgrades
Division J – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies included:
- $15.0 million for construction of a National Guard Readiness Center on Peterson AFB, Colorado
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 continues.
The House of Representatives also passed an updated version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act on 1 October. 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.