Crist Supports Equal GI Bill Education Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Forces

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D –St. Petersburg) issued this statement following House passage of H.R. 1836, the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act, bipartisan legislation that expands access to GI Bill education benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserve Forces.  

Through the GI Bill, servicemembers accrue benefits to help them pay for college and job training. The longer they serve, the greater the benefit. However, Guard Members and Reservists find it more difficult to earn these benefits because activities like mandatory training and drill weekends do not count towards accrual time, despite these same activities counting for active duty servicemembers. H.R.1836 brings parity in GI Bill benefits for the National Guard and Reserve Forces by counting every day a servicemember is paid and in uniform toward GI Bill education benefits.

“Our National Guard and Reserve Forces are indispensable when it comes to keeping Floridians safe from threats both natural and manmade,” said Rep Crist. “Whether deploying in the aftermath of a hurricane, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, or confronting our adversaries, Guard Members and Reservists stand always ready to protect the American people during our times of need. Unfortunately, they don’t receive equal education benefits despite training and serving alongside their active duty counterparts. That's not right. And it’s time to fix that. I’m honored to support this legislation to provide our National Guard and Reserve members the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice.” 

Congressman Crist has long been a champion for Florida’s National Guard, including serving as Commander-in-Chief while Governor of Florida. Last week, Congressman Crist sent a letter to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Daniel Hokanson, requesting a more equitable allocation of personnel and resources for the Florida National Guard. Despite being the third-most populous and fourth-most disaster-prone state in the country, Florida’s approximately 11,000 Guard personnel ranks it 53rd out of 54 states and territories in Guard personnel per capita.

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