After gathering input from many groups across the country, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, Congressman Don Young (AK) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA) have introduced H.R. 4164, The Space Available Act of 2012. This crucial piece of legislation would expand full Space Available travel benefits on military aircraft to "gray area" retirees (National Guard members or Reservists who are eligible for retirement but under the age of 60) and surviving spouses.
"I have heard from far too many of my constituents -- many of them National Guard members and Reservists -- for us not to act on this issue," said Rep. Young. "Alaska Guardsmen and their families play a crucial role in both supporting overseas operations as well as stateside disaster response operations and this bill is the least we can do. It's also important to note that this bill provides enormous benefit to our Guardsmen and their families without costing the federal government a penny. It's win-win and that's why I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure this bipartisan piece of legislation is passed and signed into law."
"I have heard directly from the Iowa National Guard Officers and Enlisted Associations about this inequity, and I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to recognize the service of the men, women, and families of our National Guard and Reserve," said Rep. Loebsack. "The Iowa National Guard and Reserve troops have served our nation and state with unyielding dedication and surviving military spouses have made great sacrifices on our behalf. Extending this benefit to them is a small but meaningful demonstration of our gratitude. Too often, members and retirees of the National Guard and Reserve, their families, and surviving military spouses do not receive the benefits they deserve, and this bill will help to recognize their service and sacrifice."
H.R. 4164 includes a provision that would allow the Secretary of Defense to establish the priority categories for Space A travel.