This bill — known as the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 — would expand eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill educational assistance for members of the National Guard and Reserves. The bill would allow service by a reservist or National Guard member that is entitled to pay to count toward benefit eligibility. Such service includes training, active military service, inactive training, and general duty for which basic pay is warranted. Under current law, active-duty service under federal orders for service other than training isn’t covered as qualifying time for accruing GI Bill benefits unless the service is in support of a national emergency declared by the president.
What is House Bill H.R. 1836?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1836
In-Depth: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced this bill to expand eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserve when they conduct training, active military service, inactive training, and general duty for which pay is warranted. Levin explained in a statement:
“The men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve make incredible sacrifices for our country just like other servicemembers, and they deserve equal benefits for doing similar jobs and facing similar risks. This bill will bring some basic fairness to the way GI Bill benefits are earned and provide Guard and Reserve members with the benefits they deserve. I look forward to advancing this bill on behalf of the thousands of Guard members who defended our Capitol and many others who have sacrificed for our country.”
One of the lead Republican cosponsors of this bill, Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), added:
“Individuals serving in the National Guard and Reserve are asked to perform a range of responsibilities similar to their active-duty counterparts, and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Our legislation addresses the GI benefits disparity and ensures members of the Guard and Reserve receive the benefits they rightly earned.”
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) said of the bill:
“Time and time again, through natural disasters, global pandemics, and threats to our democracy, our National Guard and Reserve members have answered the call to serve. But despite taking on the same risks and doing the same jobs as their Active Duty counterparts, these servicemembers don’t have access to the same benefits. That’s not right.”
Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-IL) criticized the Democratic majority for not holding a hearing on this legislation in the current Congress before calling a vote to advance it and addressed other policy-related concerns he has with the bill in its committee report:
“I have policy concerns regarding the potential vast expansion of benefits that would be provided if the bill were enacted. There is no question that members of the National Guard continue to serve the nation with courage and resolve in the face of numerous and diverse missions as part of the operational reserve. Under current law, active-duty service under Federal orders for service other than training, is not covered as qualifying time for the G.I. Bill unless this service is in support of a national emergency following a national declaration by the President. I agree that this bar is too high and believe in simplifying the law so that any time spent on active-duty orders for service other than training would count towards G.I. Bill eligibility… I am supportive of this improvement because I question the appropriateness of the benefits that are extended in H.R. 1836. I do not believe in a tight fiscal environment that the extension of eligibility for training time on active duty is meeting the spirit of service in the National Guard compared to providing benefits for full time active-duty service. I also have questions about how this change could impact retention in both the active and reserve branches. Once again, these are the type of questions and concerns that could have been explored if the bill had been subject to a legislative hearing…
I have concerns about using the proposed offsets for this program expansion given competing priorities. Since the beginning of the 117th Congress, the members of the Majority have joined Republican members in our pledge to address the needs of toxic-exposed servicemembers and veterans as our top priority. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has concluded that the cost to expand health care and benefits to toxic-exposed veterans will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars over ten years3 . While the shape these benefits may take is still a matter of debate, I believe we should hold off on spending significant mandatory offset dollars, like those proposed in this bill, until Congress acts on addressing toxic exposure issues.”
This legislation passed the House Veterans Affairs Committee on a voice vote after a substitute amendment offered by Levin was adopted on a mostly party-line vote of 17-12.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021
Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house Passed January 12th, 2022Roll Call Vote 287 Yea / 135 NayIntroducedMarch 11th, 2021