(March 6, 2018) Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president, plans to discuss benefit parity and suicide prevention Tuesday afternoon before a joint hearing of the Senate and House veterans’ affairs committees. His prepared remarks also include comments about the association’s support of legislation that would strengthen employment opportunities for National Guardsmen and provide additional protection in the civilian workforce.
The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m.
In his remarks, Robinson says Congress has already erased some benefit inequities in the mobilization authority known as 12304b, such as access to GI Bill benefits and health care. To bring further equality to Guardsmen, he says, Congress should pass the National Guard and Reserve Benefit Parity Act now introduced in both chambers. This legislation would provide early retirement eligibility for all Guardsmen serving under 12304b and high-deployment allowance and pay for mobilized federal civilian employees.
“While our service members are eager to continue to serve in any capacity, we believe that they should be afforded the same benefits enjoyed by active-component members,” he will tell lawmakers.
Robinson also plans to make the case for improved mental-health care for Guardsmen to combat the high rate of suicide in the community-based force. This could be the funding of additional directors of psychological health and chaplains or a network of resources located in the communities where Guardsmen live.
Testimony will also be heard from representatives of other organizations, including Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, American Ex-Prisoners of War and others.