McMorris Rodgers Doubles Down on Efforts to Fix Backlog of Veterans’ Record Requests

Sep 23, 2021
Press
Veterans

Washington, D.C. (September 23, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) led a bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers in demanding the Biden administration address the growing backlog of requests at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). 

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, and Archivist David Ferriero, the lawmakers urged the administration to expeditiously develop a plan to boost capacity at the NPRC and reduce the backlog by any means possible.

“We were recently informed that the NPRC is now operating at 10 percent capacity. This level is down from approximately 20 to 25 percent capacity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year,” wrote the lawmakers. “As a result, the NPRC has a backlog of more than half a million records requests – predominantly for DD-214 forms – that have been unfulfilled.” 

They continued, “In December of last year, Congress gave the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) $50 million in emergency appropriations for the NARA revolving fund. Despite receiving $15 million of this funding, the NPRC has since seen a drop in staffing levels and processing capacity.”  

They concluded, “Veterans are our nation’s heroes. They deserve gold-standard access to care and benefits. We urgently ask you to take any and all actions to address this growing crisis so that our heroes are not left behind in this already difficult time.”

Additionally, the lawmakers requested answers to the following questions, among others:

  1. Why is it now, when vaccines are widely available, that the center is only operating at 10 percent capacity? 
  2. How many DD-214 forms are being processed and delivered per day at the current staffing levels? 
  3. How did the NPRC use the $15 million in funding given to reduce the records request backlog? 
  4. What metrics are the Office of Personnel Management using to determine capacity levels at the NPRC? When does the NPRC expect to return to full capacity? What are the continuing barriers to doing so?

Cathy was joined in sending this letter by Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02), Warren Davidson (OH-08), and 58 other bipartisan members of the House of Representatives.

CLICK HERE to read the letter.

NOTE: Earlier this year, Cathy urged President Joe Biden and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take immediate action to eliminate the records request backlog. In response, she was told more staff have been hired to increase processing efficiency, remote call centers have been established to help process inquiries, and the online application for the submission of veterans’ requests has been updated to allow for the submission of emergency requests. 

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