Huizenga Leads Bipartisan Congressional Effort Calling for National Guard Members at U.S. Capitol to be Provided with Per Diems
Last night, Michigan Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) and 38 of his colleagues sent a bipartisan letter to the Acting Secretary of the Army and National Guard Bureau Chief calling for members of the National Guard deployed to the U.S. Capitol to be provided with per diems. Given the numerous reports detailing unsafe food conditions, the members of Congress call for the per diems to be retroactive and continue for the remainder of the deployment.
The Representatives write: “The quality of food being provided to the men and women serving in the capital is clearly unacceptable, unhealthy, and even harmful. We write today to request that per diems be issued immediately, so that guard members can secure proper meals for the duration of their deployment in Washington, D.C. Additionally, we also request that per diems be issued retroactively to cover the cost of guard members having purchased meals with personal funds due to the unsanitary and inadequate nature of the contracted meals.”
Joining U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga on the letter are Representatives: Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Richard Hudson (R-NC), David B. McKinley (R-WV), W. Gregory Steube (R-FL), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Gregory F. Murphy (R-NC), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Jared Golden (D-ME), Andrew S. Clyde (R-GA), Greg Pence (R-IN), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Barry Moore (R-AL), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), John Rose (R-TN), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Scott H. Peters (D-CA), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Lisa McClain (R-MI), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Ted Budd (R-NC), Ronny L. Jackson (R-TX), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dean Phillips (D-MN)
The Huizenga led letter is available online here and is copied below.
March 4, 2021
The Honorable John E. Whitley General Daniel R. Hokanson
Acting Secretary of the Army Chief, National Guard Bureau
The Pentagon National Guard Bureau
Arlington, VA 20301 Arlington, VA 22204
Dear Acting Secretary Whitley and General Hokanson:
Throughout the course of their deployment in our nation's capital, the men and women of the National Guard have served honorably protecting and securing the United States Capitol. We appreciate and recognize the magnitude and effort that it takes to coordinate over 5,000 guard members in the region on such short notice.
Recently, there have been a cascade of reports describing the food being provided to our soldiers as poorly prepared, oftentimes inedible, and unacceptable. This includes meals that are severely undercooked, moldy, and even filled with metal shavings. It has also been reported that the low food quality has resulted in approximately 50 soldiers being treated for gastrointestinal complaints, with some of these members needing to receive medical care at military treatment facilities.
The quality of food being provided to the men and women serving in the capital is clearly unacceptable, unhealthy, and even harmful. We write today to request that per diems be issued immediately, so that guard members can secure proper meals for the duration of their deployment in Washington, D.C. Additionally, we also request that per diems be issued retroactively to cover the cost of guard members having purchased meals with personal funds due to the unsanitary and inadequate nature of the contracted meals.
Although these conditions have been widely reported and acknowledged by leadership at the National Guard, the situation does not appear to have been rectified and immediate action must be taken. As demonstrated over the last few months, the members of the National Guard have time and time again answered the call to provide assistance and security where requested. There is no reason they cannot be fed safely and adequately while serving in our nation’s capital.
Thank you for your service to our country and we look forward to your prompt reply.
Member of Congress