Reid Introduces Bill to Support Families of National Guard and Reserves
Legislation would allow Americans to donate a portion of tax refunds to replace income lost by mobilized troops
June 3, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today introduced the Voluntary Support for Reservists and National Guard Members Act of 2009. Senator Reid is a strong supporter of National Guard and Reserve Troops and he recognizes the need to support their families who are left financially vulnerable when the guard member or reservist is mobilized and away from his or her regular job. Below are Senator Reid’s remarks as prepared:
“I rise today to introduce legislation to help reduce the financial burden placed on our Reserve and National Guard troops and their families. More than a quarter of a million have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must make it a priority to honor their service at home.
“Nevada alone has more than 3,000 Guardsmen and women, and 1,000 Reservists - many of whom work full-time jobs when they’re not on active duty. Since September 11th, our National Guard and Reserve Troops have significantly increased their deployments beyond what had been forecasted, advertised or expected. They have continued their engagements around the globe while still responding to historic callouts in support of disaster relief.
“In our Democracy, we enjoy the luxury of an all-volunteer military force. Yet in volunteering, many of our Citizen-Soldiers are financially penalized for their service. Far too frequently, when a Service Member is mobilized in service to their state or our nation, they suffer a financial burden in the reduced pay received while mobilized. A National Guard medic might earn much less while he or she is deployed in Afghanistan than they did working a full-time job in a Nevada hospital. This legislation gives American taxpayers the option of contributing money to help our military families to make up for wages lost during a deployment.
“The bill I am introducing today allows Americans to designate all or a portion of their income tax refunds to the Reserve Income Replacement Program. The Program is an entitlement that must be paid to all eligible Service Members when they incur a loss in monthly compensation as a result of a mobilization. The funds that volunteers donate will be transferred from the Treasury Department to this program, which was developed specifically to provide payments to eligible members of the National Guard and Reserve who are involuntarily serving on active-duty and who are experiencing a monthly active-duty income differential of more than $50. In 2007, the IRS issued 106 million refunds that totaled $246 billion with the average refund coming in at $2,342. Even a small percentage of this amount could make a significant difference in the lives of these reservist and National Guard families.
“The financial stress of deployments during a recession has placed enormous pressures on our National Guard and Reserve Service Members and their families. Many of these members are returning from war only to find their businesses facing extreme difficulty. This bill would not only assist the Guard with monetary resources, but it would also rightfully focus more attention on the financial struggles that our brave and dedicated citizen Soldiers and Airmen undertake in defense of our country. With this legislation, we can show them that their service is not taken for granted.
“I ask unanimous consent that this legislation, the Voluntary Support for Reservists and National Guard Members Act, and the accompanying remarks be printed in the Record.”
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