National Guard members have served as front-line workers in the effort to stop the coronavirus pandemic, but now the Trump administration is set to end their deployments on June 24. The stand-down orders, which would become effective 89 days after National Guard members were ordered to report for duty, will prevent members from hitting the 90-day threshold that provides early retirement and education benefits under the G.I. bill.
Trump is ending National Guard deployments to fight COVID one day before they would qualify for a range of expanded benefits. This man does not respect our military. They are pawns to him. https://t.co/0MZHgTsJyj
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 19, 2020
Politico obtained a copy of a May 12 audio call in which a senior FEMA official said the orders ending the deployment of 40,000 Guard members serving as front-line workers would be tricky:
“We would greatly benefit from unified messaging regarding the conclusion of their services prior to hitting the 90-day mark and the retirement benefit implications associated with it.”
But “unified messaging” won’t diminish the impact of sending the National Guard members home. The pull-out will mean 44 states will lose the people who have set up field hospitals, cleaned and sanitized health care facilities, and provided other vital services that have helped keep Americans safe.
The decision is a reminder that when faced with a choice, the Trump administration will prioritize economic values, in this case, reduced spending for the front-line workers they call heroes, over the lives of Americans.
Nothing says "looking out for the common folks" like prematurely stopping an emergency public health measure because you don't want National Guard members to acquire benefits they have earned by volunteering to serve in harm's way. https://t.co/BYoQdYFM5A
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) May 19, 2020