AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Adjutant General of Texas joined her counterparts in other states to call on Congress to reimburse states for sending National Guard troops to Capitol Hill after January’s insurrection.
In a July 26 letter to key Congressional budget writers, leaders within the Adjutants General Association shared a “collective concern” regarding the “lack of reimbursement” for the Guard’s response after January 6, 2021, when demonstrations outside the U.S. Capitol turned violent. The National Guard deployed more than 26,000 soldiers and airmen in the following days, including Texas troops.
“It is merely days before Congress recesses for the month of August, and yet seemingly there is no movement on any of the proposed legislation to reimburse the National Guard for the costs incurred to ensure a peaceful and safe transition of our government,” the letter, led by Nebraska’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, stated.
The military leaders expressed worry about the timeline to pass federal legislation restoring $521 million to the National Guard before Congress recesses.
“The budget deficit created by sending more than 26,000 Soldiers and Airmen from the National
Guards of the states and territories to our nation’s capital has had a critical impact to the entire National Guard,” Bohac, who serves as president of the Adjutants General Association explained.
According to a Texas Military Department press release, “the lack of reimbursement to the National Guard will soon impact Texas National Guardsmen, leaving them without pay for the remainder of this federal fiscal year.”
The Texas Army National Guard canceled its monthly weekend training exercises and yearly training for August and September as a result of the looming budgetary shortfall, state military officials confirmed.
“These federal funding shortfalls affect not only our training and readiness but more importantly, the financial wellness of our Soldiers,” Major General Tracy Norris, the Adjutant General of Texas said in a statement.
“Soldiers depend on their monthly drill pay to supplement their income to pay bills and feed their families,” Norris continued.
“Now, these Soldiers will go without pay for two months and will incur a debt for federal Guard-furnished benefit premiums such as Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Tricare Reserve Select,” Norris added, explaining soldiers may also lose retirement points which would cause the last year of training fail to count on their service record.
State-funded missions including border deployments as part of Operation Lone Star in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety are not expected to be affected, the Texas Military Department explained.
“Texas Guardsmen have been on the front lines of COVID response, civil disturbance operations, border response, and countless other state and federal missions. We have the most experienced force the Texas Guard has ever seen,” Norris stated. “The ability to retain this experience and support our Soldiers is directly affected by these budget shortfalls. We need a solution.”
The Texas Military Department did not immediately share requested details on how many Guardsmen were deployed from the Lone Star State to the nation’s capital or how much money Texas seeks to recoup.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the withdrawl of Texas troops from Washington, D.C. after images circulated on social media of soldiers sleeping in the halls of the U.S. Capitol during their deployment.