Tester, Moran Urge Secretary Esper to Mobilize the National Guard Under Federal Orders

Senators push to expand Title 32 order to provide Guardsmembers earned compensation and benefits during COVID-19 crisis

(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are urging U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to work with states to mobilize all National Guard members responding to COVID-19 under the appropriate federal Title 32 duty status to make certain members of the Guard receive the benefits and pay they have earned from their time in active duty.

Several states have mobilized the National Guard under State Active Duty Orders, however mobilizing under Title 32 orders will make certain the guardsmen and women are eligible for certain health and pay benefits for performing the same crisis response mission as their federally activated peers.

“At the beginning of the crisis, many governors began deploying their National Guard members under State Active Duty status, but following President Trump’s national emergency declaration and determination under the Stafford Act on March 13, 2020, states have sought and are receiving federal support,” the Senators wrote. “As such, we believe it is appropriate that the National Guard answering the call to provide relief during this national emergency must then be moved to federal Title 32 status, in coordination with state Governors and the Adjutants General. This action will ensure our National Guard who are ‘Always Ready, Always There!’ receive the proper military pay and compensation, access to TRICARE healthcare, military employment protections, and a host of benefits that we all expect our brave servicemembers to receive, particularly in a time of crisis.”

Tester has been pushing the Trump Administration to expand Title 32 authorities for the men and women of the National Guard on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 crisis. Tester sent a letter on March 20th to Secretary Esper, arguing that only 3 states: California, New York, and Washington had been given this authority, even though states like Montana have also activated the National Guard. Yesterday, Tester joined the Montana congressional delegation, urging the President to grant Title 32 authorities for the Montana National Guard.

Read the full letter HERE.