Blumenauer Amendment Protects Nation's National Guard and Reserve Military Technicians
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) offered an amendment that would prevent any funds in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill from being used to implement or carry out a furlough for National Guard technicians. When the House of Representatives passed the Continuing Resolution earlier this year, there was language that gave Defense Department flexibility to avoid furloughing troops and other employees. One area this did not cover, however, was the nearly 60,000 National Guard technicians, more than 1,000 of whom live and work in Oregon. The amendment to protect the technicians was adopted and will become part of the final bill.
Blumenauer made the following statement:
The National Guard has done an outstanding job performing above and beyond, and we need to make sure that they are covered by the same rules that apply to all the other men and women who serve in uniform. This amendment is about the basic principal of fairness and quality. National Guard technicians should not be subject to arbitrary cuts of sequestration.
Our Nation's National Guard and Reserve military technicians--or MILTECHs--are some of the most important assets we have to keeping our servicemen and women safe. Just like any other servicemember, they proudly wear the military uniform to work. Perhaps most importantly, every one of them is deployable, many having deployed all around the world. They are making sure the equipment that our warfighters need is operating.
We cannot allow big Army, Air Force or Navy to push their sequestration-woes onto our citizen soldiers. While we must continue working to replace the devastating sequester cuts for all affected, furloughing military technicians undermines our last decade of investment, which is imprudent and will cost us in the long run.
The Army National Guard serves both state and federal governments. This means that, while Guard units are combat-trained and can be deployed overseas, they are just as likely to serve in their home communities. The many Guard and Reserve deployments over the last decade have resulted in highly seasoned guardsmen with more skill and experience than we’ve ever seen.
They have also been on hand to support communities dealing with natural disasters, from wildfires to devastating floods, all across the U.S. Over 400,000 citizen soldiers who live and work in thousands of communities across the country are ready to confront our challenges at home as well as abroad. This means that right here at home, at the peak of fire season, MILTECHs are ensuring our helicopters and other equipment can get back out, into the field, protecting the public. The dedication of these citizen soldiers and adaptability of their mission makes the National Guard an ideal complement to the standing military force.
When it comes to keeping America safe in the midst of shrinking budgets, the National Guard is an investment with a very high return and should play a critical role in meeting the demands of our 21st century commitments. I am proud to have played a small part in supporting them in this bill and will continue to look out for the interests of Guardsman in Oregon and across the country.