The NGAUS legislative staff continues to be in consistent communication with the Trump administration to ensure sustained support for state-led National Guard COVID-19 response. Additionally, the legislative staff continues to engage Congressional offices and the Department of Defense in order to provide the health care and associated benefits necessary for servicemembers performing COVID-19 response missions.
As of May 26, more than 45,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen across all 54 states and territories have been activated in response to COVID-19. While most are currently serving on federal Title 32 orders responding to a federally-declared national emergency, under current law they will not receive federal post-deployment transitional health care coverage. NGAUS strongly supports providing this health care, making it a top advocacy priority during the pandemic response.
The NGAUS legislative staff worked with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), and Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) to introduce the Support Our National Guard Act. The legislation would require the Secretary of Defense to provide National Guard servicemembers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with six months of post-deployment health care.
The transitional health benefits would ensure Guardsmen would not experience a lapse in healthcare coverage after their Title 32 deployment ends and would ensure treatment of medical issues arising from their service for six months. Brig. Gen. (Ret.) J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS President, sent letters to Senate and House of Representatives leadership to strongly recommend including the bills, S.3713 and H.R.6967, within supplemental coronavirus legislation. NGAUS members are highly encouraged to voice their support for this effort via Write to Congress here.
The NGAUS legislative staff will continue to support National Guard servicemembers as the pandemic carries on. This includes continued dialogue and advocacy with Congressional staff to include provisions beneficial to the National Guard within additional coronavirus legislation, as well as within the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and FY21 appropriations legislation.