California National Guardsmen watch protesters from western entrance of San Diego County Administration Building in 2020. Photo by Enrique Morones

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation authored by Rep. Mike Levin that grants National Guard and Reserve troops the same GI Bill benefits as active-duty military.

The Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 passed on a bipartisan vote of 287-135 and now goes to the Senate.

“National Guard and Reserve members are increasingly serving on the front lines of our nation’s greatest challenges, responding to climate disasters, the pandemic, and the attack on our nation’s Capitol,” said Levin, a Democrat who represents the 49th District in north coastal San Diego County.

 “It’s shameful that we have asked Guard and Reserve members to respond to these crises without providing them with the same GI Bill benefits as the active duty servicemembers who they often serve with. It’s time for us to step up and give them the benefits they have earned,” he added.

In 2020, the National Guard and Reserve were used more and for longer than any time period since World War II.

Levin’s bill was supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America, National Guard Association of the United States, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and the Reserve Officers Association.

Every member of the San Diego congressional delegation voted for the bill except Rep. Darrell Issa, the delegation’s sole Republican.

The GI Bill, which originated in 1944 during World War II, helps service members pay for college, graduate school, and training programs.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.