McKinley: Sequester Could Affect Boy Scouts

The National Guard is set to provide the security when West Virginia hosts its first National Boy Scout Jamboree this summer, but mandated federal spending cuts could affect safety there, according to the office of Rep. David B. McKinley.

McKinley, R-W.Va., now plans to introduce legislation that would keep the Department of Defense from pulling its support for the event except in a situation affecting national security, according to McKinley spokesman Jim Forbes. President Barack Obama has said due to the sequester of federal spending, the Department of Defense will be cutting back on the use of the National Guard in all states.

Forbes said this could greatly impact the upcoming Boy Scouts National Jamboree, slated for July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve – the new home for the jamboree.

It is located in Mount Hope, W.Va., between Beckley and Glen Jean, W.Va.

“Since 1972, the Department of Defense has been supporting the Boy Scouts Jamboree,” Forbes said. “As it stands now, the Department of Defense can pull their support from events like this due to sequestration or for whatever reason.

“We’re going to change the language to say the DOD can only get out of pulling the National Guard if it affects national security. That’s what Rep. McKinley is working to get done.”

McKinley was in meetings throughout Monday and could not be reached for comment.

At least 50,000 scouts, venturers, volunteers and staff from all over the country are expected to gather in Mount Hope for the Jamboree this summer, according to the Boy Scouts of America. The World Scout Jamboree is planned for the new facility in 2019.

McKinley, an Eagle Scout, is a strong supporter of scouting. During the last session of Congress, he was one of 19 Eagle Scouts in the 435-member House of Representatives.