WASHINGTON (KTVZ) — Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ore., Congressman Fred Keller and House Veterans Affairs Committee filing member Mike Bost led a letter this week to the National Archives and Records Administration demanding that the National Personnel Records Center fully reopen.
In a press release, they said this in response to the agency’s recent decision to cut capacity to 25%, which they say will further exacerbate veterans’ inability to access essential benefits.
“The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has not maintained full in-person employment capacity since March 2020. Since then, many veterans in Oregon and across the country have not received the records they need. need to demonstrate their military service and verify their service. related terms. As a result, these people cannot receive the medical care, disability benefits and retirement benefits that they have earned. In some cases, the NPRC is the only agency that can provide these records to veterans. It is time for the NPRC to do its job. I am grateful to Congressman Fred Keller and Ranking Member Mike Bost for joining me in leading this effort,” said Representative Cliff Bentz (OR-02).
“The National Personnel Records Center has reneged on its commitment to reopen in-person operations to the detriment of American veterans who expect their government to provide basic resources in a timely manner. The fact that processing times at the NPRC can take up to 18 months is not only unacceptable, but also an insult to all the men and women who have sacrificed to protect our nation. The lack of transparency at the NPRC has made it clear that we need to pass legislation, like the RECORDS Act, to order the NPRC to fully reopen and report to Congress on its efforts to clear its backlog of records requests. –Representative Fred Keller (PA-12).
“I have repeatedly called on the White House to develop a plan to fully staff the NPRC to reduce the backlog of veterans records requests,” said the ranking member Bost. “While I am encouraged that the NPRC has made progress since this time last year for records requests from VA, veterans are still waiting weeks, if not months, for their own records requests. We owe them better service. I thank my friends, Rep. Bentz, and Rep. Keller, and our 110 other colleagues for joining me in sending this letter to the Archivist on behalf of veterans and their families stuck in limbo.”
The NPRC is an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration, which is responsible for maintaining records, such as DD-214 forms, for veterans to demonstrate military service. The NPRC says its reduced staff is sufficient to resume service of these routine applications, but veterans still report an inability to access these forms. Despite numerous calls from members of Congress to reopen the NPRC and deal with the backlog, the NPRC has remained at minimal capacity since March 2020.
This letter asks the NPRC to schedule a briefing for members of Congress regarding their full reopening plan no later than February 7. 110 members of Congress joined the three members of Congress to sign the letter.
To read the letter, click here.