07/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/18/2019 15:37
WASHINGTON - Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today met with Mark Esper, the nominee to serve as the Secretary of Defense, where he outlined the importance of North Dakota's nuclear and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions to the nation's defense as well as the need to strengthen servicemembers' benefits. Hoeven invited Esper to visit the state once he is confirmed to see firsthand the importance of its military missions.
Hoeven is working to ensure the nominee's support for:
'North Dakota's military members are an essential part of our nation's defense, and I appreciate Mark Esper for taking the time to learn more about our state's nuclear and UAS missions and to discuss our bills to improve Guard and Reserve education and health benefits,' Hoeven said. 'I look forward to supporting his nomination and working with him to ensure we keep our nuclear modernization efforts on track and continue expanding our unmanned capabilities.'
Hoeven's meeting with Esper aligns with his recent efforts to support North Dakota's missions through the Senate's passage of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes the following priorities:
National Guard and Reserve Benefits
In addition, Hoeven is advancing two pieces of legislation to strengthen benefits for the National Guard and Reserve forces. This includes the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act, bipartisan legislation Hoeven introduced with Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use Federal Tuition Assistance programs and GI Bill benefits to fund their education, similar to active duty servicemembers.
Hoeven also helped introduced the TRICARE Reserve Improvement Act with Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The bipartisan legislation would extend TRICARE Reserve Select eligibility to all Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who are currently ineligible because they are also federal employees who can enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) Program.