Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25) released the following statement after the House passed his bipartisan legislation, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act of 2021. The bill would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state, reciprocity in another state where their spouse is stationed on military orders. Garcia’s bill was included as an amendment in the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“I am pleased that Congress came together in a bipartisan fashion to pass my bill that would support our military families. The Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act would make it easier for military spouses with professional licenses to continue to utilize their license when moving to a new state on military orders,” Garcia said. “This would not only make it easier for military spouses to retain employment but it would also eliminate the costly and burdensome process of acquiring a new professional license every time a military spouse has to move on military orders. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate swiftly pass this important legislation to support our military families.”

Military spouses who work in fields that require professional licenses are often forced to spend time and money to obtain licensure each time they move to a new state under military orders.

While some states have taken steps to ease re-licensure burdens facing military families, it has not been enough. A 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) survey found that one in five military spouses who work in a licensed profession waited ten months or more to get their credentials after a move.

All told, military spouses faced a reported 22-percent unemployment rate and a 26-percent wage gap compared to their civilian counterparts before COVID-19. The bill would reportedly remove employment barriers and improve job security and stability for military families when moving on military orders.