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Texas National Guardsmen may be left without pay for federal fiscal year due to budget shortfalls

Texas National Guard at COVID-19 testing site
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 23:16:15-04

Major General Tracy R. Norris, Adjutant General of the Texas National Guard, is joining the call for a resolution to the budget shortfalls the National Guard is facing due to the January 2021 deployment of 26,000 Soldiers and Airmen to the U.S. Capital.

According to the release from Tuesday, July 27, the lack of reimbursement has a direct impact on Texas National Guardsmen, as they may be left without pay for the remainder of this federal fiscal year.

The release came the same day as Governor Abbott's order to have the Texas National Guard assist with border security, having them join the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with arresting individuals at the border.

"This lost training and the associated paychecks will have a chilling effect on volunteerism and our ability to recruit," said the Adjutants General Association in a signed release. "We ask you to urgently pass legislation restoring $521 million to the National Guard before Congress recesses and send an overwhelming message of confidence and gratitude for our collective response ensuring your safety and a peaceful transition of our government."

The Texas Army National Guard has already canceled monthly weekend training, or drills, and annual training for both August and September.

“These federal funding shortfalls affect not only our training and readiness but more importantly, the financial wellness of our Soldiers,” said Norris. “Soldiers depend on their monthly drill pay to supplement their income to pay bills and feed their families. Now, these Soldiers will go without pay for two months and will incur a debt for federal Guard-furnished benefit premiums such as Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Tricare Reserve Select.”

Norris said that individual Guardsmen will suffer the most from the lost wages and that they can face a loss of retirement points; due to the last year of training failing to count on their service record.

“Texas Guardsmen have been on the front lines of COVID response, civil disturbance operations, border response, and countless other state and federal missions. We have the most experienced force the Texas Guard has ever seen,” said Norris. “The ability to retain this experience and support our Soldiers is directly affected by these budget shortfalls. We need a solution.”