WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump announced that some states will be required to fund a portion of costs for the National Guard deployment in support of COVID-19 response through the end of 2020.
“This decision reflects President Trump’s willful ignorance of the true state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dire budget situation facing state and local governments. The President and this White House are continuing their abdication of responsibility by unnecessarily requiring states to pick up part of the tab for the National Guard’s pandemic response.
“This is not the time to dump additional costs on states who are facing unprecedented cost increases and revenue shortfalls. State and local governments have been leading the effort to contain the pandemic, reopen the economy and schools, and additional costs only hamper their response. The National Guard has played a critical role in supporting state COVID-19 response including assembling testing kits, staffing testing sites, conducting contact tracing, supporting food banks, and assisting long-term care facilities. The President should be providing the full support of the federal government for this mission.
“The President is also playing politics by picking a few states to get special treatment over others and not adequately responding with the gravity necessary to address the crisis. Earlier this week, Vice President Pence said that the President has “spared no expense” when it comes to the COVID-19 response. That is patently false. The President has instead passed those expenses to the states, forcing them to bear costs that should be covered by the federal government.
“We know how to combat this virus. We can contain this pandemic. To do so, however, it will require a President to actually lead and use the full capability of the federal government in a coordinated national response, instead of pushing the burden to the states.”