Sens Lee and Thune Introduce Bill to Strengthen National Guard Resources and Readiness

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD) today introduced theGuarding Readiness Resources Act, a bill to ensure that National Guard unitsreceive the reimbursement required by law forthe use of federalequipmentto supportstate missions.

Current federal law allows for the use of helicopters, trucks, and other federal equipment on state missions, but requires that states reimburse the National Guard for the costs associated with their use. However, state reimbursements are automatically diverted to the U.S. Treasury under the Miscellaneous Receipts Act (MRA), which mandates that any funds from a non-congressional source be sent to the Treasury. Without reimbursements, National Guard units are left with significantshortfallsinfederalaccounts used for operations and maintenance, under the level of the original congressional appropriation.

The National Guard does tremendous work in responding to local emergencies and civil disturbanceson state missions, as the Utah Guard has demonstrated over the last year in responding to riots, wildfires, windstorms, the pandemic, and more,”said Sen. Lee.“However, because of an oversight in the MRA, they are shortchanged federal funds crucial for maintenance, repair, and mission readiness. I am grateful to the Utah National Guard for bringing this issue to my attention, and proud to introduce a bill to correct this oversight.”

“National Guardsmen show up and perform difficult missions with little notice, the least Congress can do is ensure units aren’t being left with budget shortfalls,”said Sen. Thune. “I am glad to work with Sen. Lee to fix this oversight in the MRA to make certain necessary equipment, property, and training funds remain ready for National Guard missions.”

Specifically, the bill will provide an exemption from the MRA for state reimbursementsto the National Guard, and would apply to every Guard unit across all U.S. states and territories. While the threats in each region might differ, this exemption would ensure that each unit is able to answer the call of duty.