Bill Addresses Benefit Inequities for Guard, Reserve

Washington Report

(March 7, 2017) Rep. Steve Palazzo, R-Miss., and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., are introducing today the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act. The bill addresses unequal compensation for reserve-component members who deploy under the 12304b mobilization authority.

Under that authority, National Guard and Reserve members who deploy for preplanned missions like those in Kosovo and the Sinai receive less compensation than active-component members serving with them.

For example, reserve-component members receive no Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. They have no TRICARE coverage before or after the mobilization. And they receive no credit toward early retirement pay.

A similar bill sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is awaiting a Republican sponsor in the Senate.

The authority created in 2012 is being used more often by the Pentagon. In 2013, fewer than 200 Guard soldiers deployed under 12304b. In fiscal 2016, nearly 1,500 were sent to missions under that authority.

In an article written for the March issue of National Guard, Palazzo said, “Whether it is intentional or not, the services are using our National Guardsmen to save money by denying them equal compensation.”

He said providing equal benefits for equal sacrifice is “the fair thing to do.”