WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, led over 115 members of Congress from both parties in a letter urging President Trump to provide full Federal funding for the National Guard COVID-19 response in all states and territories. Last week, President Trump extended authority under Title 32 for the National Guard to support COVID-19, but he imposed a 25% cost share on the majority of states and territories.
“States are the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. Due to the additional costs and lost revenues caused by COVID-19, state and local governments are facing unprecedented pressures on their budgets,” the members wrote. “As we work to combat the pandemic, reopen the economy, and get kids back in schools, this is the wrong time to unnecessarily burden states with additional costs. Not only will this take away state resources from other COVID-19 response efforts, but it has the potential to lead to a reduction in National Guard members supporting COVID-19 response.”
“Furthermore, we are alarmed with your decision to treat states differently. Picking and choosing which states receive full Federal funding, whatever the rationale, sets a dangerous precedent and raises serious questions about the motivations for why certain states are selected and others are not,” the members continued. “Every state is feeling the strain of this pandemic and the National Guard mission in each state is the same – to help the emergency response to the pandemic. We see no logical justification for treating states differently.”
The National Guard has played an instrumental role in COVID-19 response and recovery across the country, serving as a critical tool for states and territories to utilize for their unique and changing needs. They have been used for a range of missions such as supporting testing sites and assembling test kits, conducting contact tracing, staffing food banks, and assisting long-term care facilities. Republican and Democratic governors alike asked for an extension of Title 32.
You can read the full letter here.