Congress should repay the National Guard more than $500 million the cash-strapped force spent to send troops to secure the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 riot, the Guard’s primary advocacy group says.
More than 26,000 Guard members put jobs and family obligations aside to protect the Capitol Building and the nation’s lawmakers, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, chairman of the National Guard Association of the U.S., and retired Army Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the association’s president.
“Guard leaders nationwide rapidly deployed the troops believing a grateful Congress would replenish the dollars spent on this unplanned mission, which it has the authority to do,” they said in a statement released Wednesday. “Guard soldiers and airmen successfully completed their mission; unfortunately, lawmakers have not completed theirs.”
If Congress doesn’t act by Aug. 1, Guard units throughout the country will be forced to cancel drills and other training, halt maintenance on vehicles and aircraft and furlough some employees due to a lack of funds, the Guard association says.
“Congress has 11 days to act. Lawmakers should put aside their differences and send the president a supplemental funding bill that makes the Guard financially whole,” Gens. McGuire and Robinson said.
Congress should take up the Pentagon’s offer to shift funds in its budget to cover the Guard for the rest of the fiscal year, which would require congressional action. Guard officials said it may be the easier course of action.
“Either way, the Guard would continue to be the force America needs and an important trust between the nation and its men and women in uniform would remain intact,” the generals said.