CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., joined by 85 of his House colleagues, is urging the Department of Defense to make sure full-time National Guard employees continue to get paid during the government shutdown.
"Our National Guard is a critical component of ensuring that our nation stands prepared to rapidly confront disaster at home and abroad," Rahall said.
National Guard members have repeatedly helped Americans recover from domestic disasters like major floods, as well as serving in war-torn nations like Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We feel that the dual mission of National Guard personnel necessitates that they receive the same consideration as [full-time] service members and support staff," Rahall and his House colleagues stated in a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel last Friday.
Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., joined 48 of their Senate colleagues in sending another bipartisan letter to Hagel last Thursday, urging him to continue paying National Guard members across the country.
Just two hours before the federal government shut down last week, Congress passed, and the White House signed, the "Pay Our Military Act" that gave the Defense Department "broad latitude to pay service members and civilians," according to the letter 50 senators sent to Hagel.
"All members of the Armed Forces, including Reserve component personnel who perform active service, will be paid in the event of a government shutdown," the letter added.
"Further, the bill requires that civilian Department of Defense personnel 'providing support to members of the Armed Forces' continue to receive their pay and allowances" during any shutdown.