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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Provide Equal Hazard Pay for Service Members

February 14, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Trent Kelly (MS-01), Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04) and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) to introduce the bipartisan Guard and Reserve Pay Equity Act to create pay equity on hazard duty incentive pay for all National Guard and Army Reserve service members. In addition to Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City and Fort Sill Army Post in Lawton, Cole’s district includes the Armed Forces Reserve Centers in Norman and Mustang, the Guard Readiness Center in Ardmore, the 2-245th Aviation Battalion in Lexington and the 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Ada.

“I am proud to join in introducing bipartisan legislation that would ensure all of our dedicated service members are compensated for the risks they undertake, whether that’s in training exercises at home or during deployments abroad. Pay parity is simply commonsense,” said Cole. “Moreover, it is the right thing to do for our service members, who are always training to remain ready and prepared to defend the United States when called upon, and for their families, who make tremendous sacrifices every day in supporting their loved ones.”

Under current law, service members in both the National Guard and Reserve are only awarded 3.33 percent of hazard-duty incentive pay of their active duty counterparts. However, while Guard and Reserve service members are required to maintain the same parachuting jumping requirements as their active duty counterparts, they are entitled to less monthly compensation despite the same level of risk.

Members of our National Guard and Reserve are critical components in defending our nation and communities. Since 2001, utilization rates for members of our Reserve Forces have increased by 22 percent. Qualified soldiers are entitled to hazard-duty incentive pay for activities including but not limited to parachute jumping and the demolition of explosives.

The Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act has been endorsed by a number of organizations representing service members including the National Guard Association of the United States, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, Reserve Officers Association and Military Officers Association of America.