|March 18, 2003|
Washington, DC- Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) today introduced two measures that will strengthen the retention ability of the armed services and improve the quality of life for military families.
"Our ability to recruit and retain qualified soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines hinges in large part on the quality of life we provide for them and their families," Granger said. "As we confront international threats, we must support those who are making the tough sacrifices to protect our country."
Granger’s "Recruiting, Retention, and Reservist Promotion Act" would reward military personnel who serve in the most hazardous positions. While recruitment levels have gone up since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Granger believes that in order to maintain a vibrant all-volunteer force Congress must provide additional incentives for the men and women serving in dangerous conditions. Specifically, the bill would include hazardous duty and diving pay in the calculation of military retirement benefits. It also would commission a study to evaluate the potential benefits of offering tax credits to companies that employ National Guardsmen and Reservists. Finally, the legislation directs the Defense Department to study the feasibility of expanding Junior ROTC and similar youth programs.
With the "Military Family Housing Assistance Act," Granger is attempting to ensure that military families are not hurt by sudden fluctuations in housing costs. Currently, service members must wait for Congress to provide emergency funding to assist with increases in housing prices. Even if Congress provides the additional assistance, it can take months to get to families the relief they need. Granger’s approach is to allow the Secretary of Defense to provide immediate assistance to members of the military to cope with rising costs by making temporary, emergency adjustments in the basic housing allowance.
"In the coming months, Congress will be considering ways to improve the quality of life for those who so proudly serve their country in uniform," Granger said. "I believe the two bills I have introduced today can contribute to that effort."
Granger serves as a member of the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, which writes the annual funding bill for military family housing operations and construction.