Border Crisis

Texas Governor Joins with Bipartisan Coalition Opposing Biden Admin’s National Guard Power Grab

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote a letter to President Joe Biden opposing a Department of the Air Force proposal to transfer National Guard units from state control to federal without the governors’ authorization. The proposal calls for certain National Guard units to be transferred out of the National Guard to the newly created Space Command.

“Legislative Proposal 480, put forth by the U.S. Department of the Air Force, poses an intolerable threat to the Texas National Guard. Congress has long required the consent of a governor before units can be transferred out of the National Guard he commands,” Abbott said in the May 3 letter to President Biden. “By departing from this sensible arrangement, and allowing the Secretaries to dismantle National Guard units on a whim, Legislative Proposal 480 would set a dangerous precedent.”

The letter places Governor Abbott in alignment with a recent statement by the bipartisan Council of Governors who penned a letter to Secretary of Defense Loyd J. Austin, III, on April 22 asking the Department of the Air Force to retract its Legislative Proposal 480. The proposal would bypass federal laws to take 14 units currently assigned to the National Guard and put them under the U.S. Space Command without the required consent of the states’ governors, The National Guard Association of the United States reported.

“Such disregard for the role of governors in these matters also harms the federal-state relationship pertaining to the National Guard,” the state governors stated in their letter to Secretary Austin. “Sidestepping the input of governors undermines readiness and impairs relationships.”

The Council of Governors consists of:

  • Co-Chair Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz,
  • Co-Chair Vermont Gov. Phil Scott,
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney,
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,
  • Idaho Gov. Brad Little,
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham,
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb,
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster,
  • Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, and,
  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon

Despite not having any units that would fall under this direct proposal, Governor Abbott opposed the program because of the precedent it would set in bypassing federal laws requiring the consent of the governor before such transfer.

The governor described the crucial role the Texas National Guard plays in protecting the lives and property of Texans:

In recent years, members of the Texas National Guard have heroically responded to hurricanes, wildfires, and a variety of other disasters, including the one at the Texas–Mexico border. Most recently, the Texas National Guard responded to the largest wildfire in Texas history with aircraft to dump water and with an MQ-9 Reaper to assess the situation on the ground. During COVID-19, the Texas National Guard deployed over 4,600 troops to support 17 state agencies in all 254 counties in Texas and responded to 530 formal State of Texas Assistance Requests.

The governor did not mention the critical mission of the Texas National Guard in securing the state’s southern border with Mexico under Operation Lone Star.

Abbott concluded:

Congress has long required the consent of a governor before units can be transferred out of the National Guard he commands. See 32 U.S.C. § 104; 10 U.S.C. § 18238. By departing from this sensible arrangement, and allowing the Secretaries to dismantle National Guard units on a whim, Legislative Proposal 480 would set a dangerous precedent. Members of the Texas National Guard must always stand ready to respond to natural disasters, civil disturbances, and cartel activity that threaten our way of life.

The U.S. Department of the Air Force should retract Legislative Proposal 480. Instead of attempting such a power grab in Congress, the U.S. Department of the Air Force should work with the affected governors to build up the Space Force in a way that is consistent with federal law.

On April 30, 53 governors sent a letter to Secretary Austin asking that the proposal be rescinded.

The governors stated that “National Guard assets are critical components of states’ and territories’ responses to crises. “Governors must maintain full authority as Commanders in Chief of these assets to effectively protect operational readiness and America’s communities.

“Any federal efforts or legislative actions intended to disregard or weaken these authorities will negatively impact our ability to serve the nation and deeply damage the relationship between states and the federal government,” they explained to Austin.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday morning talk show. He also serves as president of Blue Wonder Gun Care Products 

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