WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Braun and Sen. Jon Ossoff led 18 of their Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to the National Archives of the United States (NARA) seeking answers on the backlog of veterans’ record requests. Service records are often required to access critical government benefits and services, so ensuring requests are completed expeditiously is of utmost importance.
Senators Jerry Moran, Jon Tester, Bill Cassidy, Elizabeth Warren, Jacky Rosen, John Thune, John Cornyn, Tim Kaine, Jeanne Shaheen, Todd Young, Marco Rubio, Ben Ray Lujan, Tammy Baldwin, Ted Cruz, John Boozman, Bernie Sanders, Katie Britt and Rick Scott joined Sen. Braun and Sen. Ossoff on the letter.
The Senators write:
We write to express our concern regarding reports of ongoing delays in constituents receiving their military service records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). As part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (P.L. 117-263), Congress passed the Access for Veterans to Records Act. This authorized $60 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to address the records backlog and improve response times for requests from Veterans for their military service records.
The Senators continued:
While we recognize and commend NARA for the significant strides it has made to address this backlog, we must ensure all incoming requests are still met with a timely response and that this does not occur again in the future. For the sake of our constituents, we kindly request NARA respond to the following questions by Monday, October 16, 2023.
Senator Braun is committed to ensuring that veterans can access the benefits that they are entitled to in a straightforward and timely manner. Last year, Sen. Braun introduced bipartisan legislation with Sens. Ossoff, Rounds and Shaheen to address the backlog of veterans’ service records nationwide last year when the National Personnel Records Center had a backlog of nearly half a million record requests from veterans and their families. Just this month, Sen. Braun introduced the Wounded Warrior Access Act with Sen. Padilla to allow veterans or their representatives make requests to receive their claim files electronically.