Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) last night voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included his legislation with Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), the Coast Guard Retirement Parity Act (H.R. 6072). Once signed into law, this provision will protect the retirement benefits of United States Coast Guard retirees.
Unlike the other U.S. Armed Forces branches, under current law, Coast Guard retirement benefits require annual funding from Congress through the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee where Palazzo serves. Because they rely on this funding mechanism, if the federal government shuts down due to budget disagreements, Coast Guard service members and retirees go without pay.
During the January 2019 government shutdown, when active duty Coasties were not being paid, over 50,000 Coast Guard retirees were just days away from missing their retirement check. The bill will protect these earned benefits of thousands of USCG retirees by including the Coast Guard in the Military Retirement Fund – just like every other branch of the military – providing protection from a potential government shutdown.
“Any veteran who has honorably served this nation should never wonder if they will receive their retirement benefits. This legislative solution will make things right by our Coast Guard retirees and safeguard the benefits they’ve rightfully earned,” Palazzo said.
The NDAA provides critical national security measures that will bolster the strength and readiness of our military. As Chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus, Palazzo was also pleased to see the inclusion of his amendment with Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-1) that will provide transitional health care benefits to National Guard service members who are supporting the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am pleased to see the House come together and pass our annual defense bill, giving our service members the resources they need to execute their mission. The NDAA supports our National Guard service members and will ensure our military maintains America’s competitive edge against our adversaries. I was pleased to see support for our military families and improvements to military housing were included in the legislation. South Mississippi is a military community and will stand to benefit from this bill.”