(WAND) - Gov. JB Pritzker is calling on Congress to repay the National Guard for its efforts to keep the U.S. Capitol safe after the Jan. 6 riots.
In a press release, the governor said lawmakers need to immediately take up legislation that would make the National Guard whole for its D.C. mission. He also wants funding to be provided for critical safety and security enhancements at the U.S. Capitol.
Thousands of guard members from across the U.S., including hundreds of people from Illinois, were involved in protecting the Capitol after supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building. Pritzker's press release said the soldiers "provided critical security support" when the country had a dire need for it.
According to the governor, the National Guard faces "devastating prospects" if funding isn't repaid immediately, including a reduction in exercises, weekend training and potential furloughs. He said this situation has placed a "significant financial burden" on individual guard members, putting monthly drill checks and insurance payments in jeopardy.
“Even as the events of Jan. 6 were still unfolding, heroes from across the nation fearlessly mobilized in defense of their country, and every day that our debts to them go unpaid is an insult to their service,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Congress needs to act with urgency to not only protect the integrity of our National Guard but to do everything possible to prevent another Jan. 6 from ever happening again. Here in Illinois, our Illinois National Guard soldiers and airmen have sacrificed so much over the last 18 months, leaving their homes and families, civilian jobs and universities, dropping their plans and putting their lives on hold – all to respond to the needs of our state and nation. This is about readiness and about taking care of our soldiers and airmen, but even more so, it’s about honor. I urge Congress to act quickly on behalf of the safety, security, and dignity of all Americans.”
There were over 25,000 Guard troops who responded to protect the Capitol after the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Thousands stayed until the end of May to give support to local law enforcement and ensure the city remained safe.