LAMB FIGHTS TO PROTECT NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED TO MEET COVID-19 CRISIS
(PITTSBURGH, PA) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) joined Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and a bipartisan coalition of Members to introduce the National Guard COVID-19 Earned Benefits Guarantee Act. The bill directs the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to treat a full-time National Guard COVID-19 activation as not shorter than 90 days, a threshold that ensures servicemembers qualify for certain retirement and educational benefits. The legislation is in response to recent reporting that most National Guard COVID-19 activations will expire one day short of achieving the 90-day benefit qualifying threshold. More than 40,000 National Guard members have been deployed across the country since the start of the Coronavirus public health crisis.
“In Pennsylvania, more than 1,100 National Guard members have been deployed to help communities struggling to address this public health crisis, including the COVID-19 outbreak at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County. We have a responsibility to these servicemembers to provide them with the benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Lamb.
In addition to cosponsoring the National Guard COVID-19 Earned Benefits Guarantee Act, Lamb also joined a bipartisan coalition of Members on two letters advocating for support of the National Guard. On May 20, more than 80 House members sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper to urge an extension of the Title 32 activation in coordination with state governors and asked for an explanation for the June 24 “hard stop” for the COVID-19 response. Lamb also joined Representative Jason Crow (CO-6) and a group of bipartisan Members in a letter to the President, Secretary Esper, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter T. Gaynor requesting they urgently provide the health care, leave benefits and status certainty to the National Guard.