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Congress passes bill reimbursing National Guard for post-Jan. 6 duties

Brig. Gen. William Crane says he’s very pleased Congress has passed a bill reimbursing the National Guard for activities to protect the U.S. Capitol after the Jan. 6 attacks.

Brig. Gen. William Crane

“We appreciate our entire congressional delegation being engaged in this and helping to get it over the finish line. We want to make sure we thank them for what they’ve done to help make it happen,” Crane said in a Thursday evening telephone interview.

The National Guard reimbursement was part of a broader, $2.1 billion bill that passed unanimously in the Senate and with only 11 House members voting against it.

Across the nation, the National Guard has said, the uncompensated expense for that duty amounts to $521 million. West Virginia’s share would be almost $6 million.

The Senate and House needed to pass the measure by the end of the week to assure upcoming National Guard training across the country wouldn’t be disrupted. The National Guard considers August 1 the deadline to assure the upcoming training can still happen.

Crane said he’s now confident the West Virginia National Guard can go ahead with August training exercises as planned.

“I think we’re going to be in good shape as far as getting our funding back,” Crane said. “Looks like we’ll be able to have our drills and keep our training going for our folks and do all the stuff we need to do to be ready.”

Among Crane’s concerns was commitment to Guard members who depend on payment from drills. “When I was a young private that monthly drill check meant a lot to me,” he said, believing that’s also the case for many Guard members now.

The congressional deal was announced Tuesday by U.S. Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in cooperation with the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

The $2.1 billion proposal also will secure funds for Capitol Police, more pandemic resources and increase support for Afghan refugees.

West Virginia senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito each are on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Each expressed support for the bill.

Manchin stated earlier this week, “We must ensure our National Guardsmen and women are able to continue their training and drills, which is in jeopardy if we fail to reimburse them for their service after the January 6th attacks. This funding package is essential to the safety and security of our nation, and I am pleased my bipartisan colleagues came to a reasonable agreement to fund these priorities.”

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