The legislation passed under suspension of the rules, which is a simplified voting procedure that allows for measures to move quickly on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Latham joined Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz to introduce HR 3787 last year. The legislation would extend full veteran status under federal law to retired members of the Guard and Reserve. Current law does not consider Guard and Reserve members veterans unless they have met a number of technical requirements, including a deployment for more than 30 days. The policy excludes many soldiers in the Guard and Reserve who, while never deployed, carried out critical support roles during times of war and peace during military careers that spanned decades.
“Our military depends on the National Guard and Reserve to keep our country safe,” Congressman Latham said. “Guard and Reserve members who for 20 years or more served this country and stood ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice have earned the right to be considered veterans.”
The legislation has been endorsed by the National Guard Association of the United States, Reserve Officers Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S., Retired Enlisted Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Officers Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and many other organizations.
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