07/29/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/29/2021 14:44
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today helped pass legislation to ensure funding for the National Guard to continue key training and operations. The National Guard was facing a severe budget shortfall as a result of its mission to secure the U.S. Capitol after the January 6th attacks.
'From helping distribute COVID-19 vaccines in our communities to protecting the U.S. Capitol after the January 6th attack, the men and women of Michigan's National Guard have sacrificed so much for our state and country, not only over the last year but year in and year out,' said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 'I'm pleased that the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to ensure the National Guard has the funding it needed, and I'll continue working to ensure it has the resources to continue operations safely and effectively.'
'The Michigan National Guard (MING) is always ready and willing to support our state and nation when called on,' said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. 'It was critical that funding be allocated to cover the costs associated with the U.S. Capitol security missions and we appreciate the bipartisan effort to get this accomplished. Having these funds in place will allow us to continue our ongoing training and mission requirements throughout Michigan.'
The National Guard had warned that without addressing its severe budget gap by August there could have been widespread effects, including cancelations on training and drills, harm to overall readiness and delays to needed equipment and facility restoration projects. The National Guard needed this funding due to incurring unexpected costs this year, including sending thousands of Guardsmen to secure and help protect the U.S. Capitol following the January 6th attack. The Michigan National Guard was facing cuts including to supporting operations and training this year without the additional funding. With this funding, the Michigan National Guard will be able to conduct regularly scheduled drill periods, respond to incidents as necessary and if called upon, and perform necessary facility and vehicle maintenance.
In addition to reimbursing the National Guard, the legislation includes funding to increase security around the U.S. Capitol and support for Capitol Police following the January 6th attack. The legislation also includes support to streamline Afghan Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan translators and interpreters who aided American servicemembers in Afghanistan. The program will help Afghanis and their family members who assisted Americans and may face violence and retribution for their help if they stayed in Afghanistan.
As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Peters released a joint bipartisan report detailing how security, planning and response failures led to a violent and unprecedented breach of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. The report offers bipartisan recommendations that lawmakers, Capitol security officials and national security officials can take to ensure the Capitol is secure from ongoing threats. Peters previously convened two joint hearings to examine the security and intelligence failures that led to the January 6th attack.