Republicans Try New Bill to Repay National Guard for Post-Riot Protection, Minus a Rapid Response Force
No House GOPers voted for a May bill that would have reimbursed the Guard more than a half billion dollars.
A group of Republican House lawmakers introduced a bill Friday—different than a previous version that has already passed the full House—aimed at breaking the impasse that has prevented the U.S. National Guard from getting paid for its months-long protection of the Capitol grounds following the Jan. 6 attack.
The failure to reimburse $520.9 million has forced the head of the National Guard, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, to direct Army and Air National Guard leaders to pull back all fiscal year 2021 funds from their states’ Guard units that have not been spent, in order to keep the National Guard afloat through the end of the fiscal year, Defense One reported exclusively late Thursday.
In May, House Democrats narrowly passed a bill to repay the Guard, but that legislation was not supported by a single House Republican. The bill would add money to improve security at the Capitol complex and create a “quick reaction force.” Senate Republicans also do not support these provisions.
Friday’s legislation was equally partisan. It was introduced by Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., and House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and co-sponsored by every Republican on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
In a statement to Defense One, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., suggested that there was no deal to be had on just funding the Guard.
“The current Republican plan falls way short, failing to provide the necessary funding for Capitol police and for improvements to the Capitol related to January 6th attack," Duckworth said. "I’ll keep working with Sen. [Ben Ray] Luján, D-N.M. and my colleagues to make sure the Capitol is protected and that the National Guard isn’t forced to cut necessary training efforts simply because GOP leadership is playing politics with this critical funding.”
If the money is not repaid, it will begin to affect state Guard units on Aug. 1, Guard leaders said Friday.
During a media call Friday, the adjutant generals of Indiana, Illinois, and Massachusetts outlined the specific impacts the lack of funds would have on their units. There would be no drills or annual training in August or September, meaning no paychecks.
“If you cancel an annual training period, and two individual training periods the month of August and September for Guardsmen, you have in essence cut almost 50% of their training days that prepare them to deploy domestically and internationally in response to whatever missions that the president or the governor has set up for us,” said Indiana Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Roger Lyles.