Warner and Kaine call on Trump administration to ensure National Guard receives COVID-19 benefits


Spc. Jacob Brannan, assigned to the North Carolina National Guard’s 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, loads potatoes and frozen chicken into a vehicle while helping Action Pathways Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina distribute food in Raeford, N.C. on May 5, 2020. More than 900 NCNG Soldiers and Airmen have been activated in response to COVID-19 relief efforts to help support NC Emergency Management, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and their local communities. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)

WASHINGTON, (WAVY) – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced on Friday they are joining a bipartisan group in a letter to the Trump administration making certain that National Guard personnel serving on the frontlines receive the federal benefits they have earned.

The benefits include health care, GI Bill education benefits, federal status, and retirement benefits.

The two senators are joining Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a bipartisan group of 125 Members of Congress in a letter to President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor.

“Thousands of National Guard service members have been providing invaluable support for testing civilians and Guard personnel, logistics and warehouse distribution, planning for Emergency Operations Centers, homelessness outreach, and much more,” wrote the members of Congress. 

The National Guard has been helping in each state, even those in highly exposed areas, as part of coronavirus relief efforts and since Trump declared a national emergency due to the pandemic.

The letter also addresses reports that the National Guard’s federal status may be stopped at 89 days, preventing them from receiving full benefits.

They continued, “…it is critical to ensure that all National Guard personnel are taken care of during this crisis and after, recognizing that the threat of COVID-19 will not immediately go away and the National Guard is likely to be called on again in the future… We are proud of [their] incredible contributions.”

“We are proud of the incredible contributions of the National Guard. They have been a critical team member in the nation’s fight against COVID-19. We welcome your support in ensuring they are kept safe, healthy, and receive the benefits they deserve,” the letter read in conclusion.

The text of the letter is available online.

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