PA Congressman Fred Keller raises concern over veterans' record requests backlog
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WENY) ---
Fred Keller, the congressman for Pennsylvania's 12th district, on Monday is calling for a hearing to look into a growing records request backlog at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s National Personnel Records Center.
NPRC is the federal agency that is responsible to process veterans' service records. These records are necessary for veterans to access multiple veteran's benefits programs.
Rep. Keller said, “It is completely unacceptable that America’s veterans and their families are waiting, in some cases over a year, to obtain service records for benefits they earned through their to service to our country."
The NPRC was forced to reduce its in-person staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has plans to increase its onsite employees by July, 19, according to a press release.
Republicans on the Oversight Committee argue that NARA should have had a plan earlier, and wish, "to conduct oversight on why there was not a plan to address records request effectively during the pandemic, how the agency plans to resolve the backlog, and why the workforce has taken so long to return to pre-pandemic levels.”
In June, Keller introduced legislation to fully reopen the records center, and to have them report to Congress on their efforts to ease the current backlog, entitled the Records Act.
Currently, the backlog stands at 500,000.