Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet urged the Department of Defense (DOD) to cover the costs of National Guard Units performing disaster relief and recovery operations in Colorado during the government shutdown. Bennet and a group of Republican and Democratic Senators urged the Secretary of Defense to pick up the cost for the National Guard and Reserve performing duties in Colorado and elsewhere.
Currently, the state of Colorado is paying for National Guard units mobilized to perform disaster relief. FEMA is reimbursing the state at 75 percent of the cost through emergency funds. The “Pay Our Military Act,” which Bennet and his colleagues passed in Congress was signed into law by President Obama Monday evening. It gives the Department of Defense authority to pay guard units in full during the shutdown, and ultimately saves the state the 25 percent of the cost that is not reimbursed.
In a letter to Secretary Hagel, the group of 50 senators wrote, “The law that we recently passed is explicitly clear: all members of the Armed Forces, including Reserve component personnel who perform active service, will be paid in the event of a government shutdown... [W]e urge you to review the policies that the services are disseminating to their commands to ensure that the spirit of the “Pay Our Military Act” is upheld, and that guidance is standard across the services.”
Bennet has fought to ensure National Guard troops can perform recovery efforts in Colorado without interruption and to protect their pay during a shutdown. He has also worked with the rest of Colorado’s Congressional delegation since the flooding began to ensure Colorado communities and agencies have every federal resource they need to save lives, protect homes and start the recovery process. He helped lead a delegation effort to urge the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to make crucial resources available to help Colorado by lifting the cap on funds that can be used for infrastructure-related expenses.
Bennet pressed his colleagues to approve crucial resources for flood recovery efforts in a speech on the Senate floor and underscored not only the extent of the disaster itself, but also the resilience and strength Coloradans have shown in the wake of the floods. He will continue to coordinate with Colorado's congressional delegation and federal agencies to advocate for additional federal resources to aid in recovery efforts.
Click here to read the full letter.