Shaheen Calls on Trump Administration to Reverse Decision That Prevents NH National Guard Troops from Receiving Full Federal Benefits for Activation During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 21, 2020

**Shaheen Previously Led the NH Congressional Delegation Letter to the Trump Admin Urging the Secretary of Defense to Extend the Full-Time Guard Duty Authorization Until June 30th**

 **Shaheen Statement Follows Her Call Last Week with Senators Duckworth & Blumenthal to Ensure National Guard Personnel are Provided Access to Full Benefits**

 (Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement opposing President Trump’s order to limit the mobilization of National Guardsmen in response to the COVID-19 crisis to 89 days, which prevents troops from qualifying for additional federal benefits they normally would be granted if it was extended for 90 days or more.

“New Hampshire National Guardsmen and women answered the call to help provide urgently needed support on the frontlines of our COVID-19 response efforts. For their service, they and all National Guard personnel, should have access to the full federal benefits they’ve earned,” said Shaheen. “The Trump administration appears to be deliberately preventing Guard members from accessing education and retirement benefits that they’ve earned. This is unacceptable. I’m calling on the Trump administration to right this wrong and I’m also introducing legislation to help prevent this from happening in the future. The men and women who protect and serve our communities and nation deserve better.”

Yesterday, Senator Shaheen introduced legislation with Senator Duckworth (D-IL) and a group of lawmakers that would ensure all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic receive additional benefits and provide states with greater certainty. The legislation would extend Title 32 authority for all troops activated in response to the crisis until the end of the public health emergency (PHE). By doing so, the federal government would continue covering 100 percent of the costs of this activation. As it currently stands, states have to continue requesting support to make sure there isn’t a lapse in authorities or federal funding for the troops on the frontline of this crisis.

Shaheen previously led a New Hampshire congressional delegation letter to the Trump administration requesting an extension until June 30th for the New Hampshire National Guard’s status under the National Guard Title 32 authority. The Trump administration instead put in place a deadline of June 24th which is one day shy of the 90-day period that would allow eligible personnel to qualify for certain education and retirement benefits. Last week, Shaheen sent a letter with Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), urging the administration to revise this date by one day and to extend full federal benefits to all National Guard personnel activated in response to the public health emergency.