Lincoln “TRIP Act” Would Reduce Burden on National Guard and Reserve Traveling for Drill

Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today is continuing her fight on behalf of Arkansas’s military service members, veterans, and their families by introducing legislation to reduce the burden on National Guard and Reserve members traveling for drill.

Lincoln’s “Travel Reimbursement for Inactive Duty Training Personnel Act,” or “TRIP Act,” would lower the travel reimbursement threshold to 50 miles one-way for National Guard and Reserve members traveling for drill, including reimbursement of mileage, meals, and lodging at the standard government rate set by the General Services Administration.
“I have heard from several Arkansas reservists, and the current high eligibility threshold for reimbursable drill travel expenses continues to cause undue hardships for members of the Selected Reserve, especially those in rural areas who incur significant expenses because they have to travel long distances,” Lincoln said.  “By not easing this burden, particularly during a time of economic hardship, we are impairing our ability to recruit and retain quality men and women in the Guard and Reserves.  Moreover, defraying the costs associated with travel to a drill site is simply the right thing to do for the thousands of brave and honorable service members who are training to defend our nation during a time of war.”

Frequently, members of the National Guard and Reserves have to travel significant distances to locations for inactive duty training (IDT), or “drill duty.”  In return for answering the call of duty and training to defend our nation, they are often left with significant travel expenses that come directly out of their own pockets.
Over the years, Congress has taken steps to address this issue, yet much remains to be done.  Currently, service members traveling to their assigned IDT location are only eligible for reimbursement of their travel expenses, not to exceed $300, if they are serving with a critical skill, traveling more than 150 miles one-way, and traveling to training that is necessary for medical readiness.  Reimbursement is also authorized if a service member is traveling to perform temporary duty at an alternative duty site or when a service member is traveling on official business after arriving at the IDT station.  For lodging expenses, Reserve component personnel traveling more than 50 miles one-way are eligible for reimbursement when Government housing is not readily available.

Lincoln’s TRIP Act was among the recommendations of the Independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves and is endorsed by the Military Coalition, a consortium of nationally prominent uniformed services and veterans associations representing over 5.5 million members across the country.

Lincoln first offered her TRIP Act proposal as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, and said she will continue to fight on behalf of Arkansas’s National Guard and Reserve members.