Washington, D.C. —Today, Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Warren Davidson (OH-08) led a bipartisan letter signed by 185 members of Congress urging the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to address the backlog of veteran personnel file requests, which has grown significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter can be found here.

“More than 650,000 North Carolinians are veterans, and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their service to our country. The records request backlog at the National Personnel Records Center is a disservice to them and their families, and it is an issue the Biden administration must remedy quickly,” said Congresswoman Ross.

“This backlog is preventing veterans from gaining access to essential services, including education benefits, healthcare services, and COVID-19 vaccinations. Our veterans and their families deserve better. I urge the administration to use every available resource at its disposal to ensure all veterans have access to the services they have earned. I’m honored to join my colleague, Congressman Davidson, in bringing to light this critical issue.”

“I’m disappointed that there is no plan to staff the center to capacity, despite prioritizing employees for vaccines. Congress sent millions of taxpayer dollars to the National Archives to address this problem. 2022 is too long to wait for America to keep its promises to our veterans,” Davidson said after meeting with the NPRC. “As a former Ranger, I know challenges are real, but I also know leaders find a way to accomplish their missions in the face of challenges. Congress has provided the resources and NPRC’s timeline is simply unacceptable.”

These records are required for veterans to receive COVID-19 vaccinations from the VA, GI Bill education benefits, VA loans, medical benefits, burial benefits, disability compensation, life insurance, and other services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC closed “except for emergencies” on March 23, 2020. In that time, the backlog of personnel file requests has grown to approximately 480,000. Despite Congress appropriating $50 million in emergency CARES Act funding to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the NPRC remains understaffed and backlogged.

The letter, signed by 121 Republicans and 64 Democrats, asks the President to prioritize NPRC employees for vaccinations and testing, as well as to properly staff the call center. The representatives are urging the NPRC to develop a plan to get employees back to work full time and to consider hiring additional employees or adding extra shifts to eliminate this backlog.

Concerned Veterans for America and Military-Veterans Advocacy endorsed the letter.