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Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Senators to introduce bill to restore full funding to National Guard

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A group of Democratic senators will introduce a bill to restore full federal funding for the National Guard so it can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Aug. 3, President Donald Trump signed a memo terminating the 100 percent federal cost share with the National Guard that had been in effect since March for responding to coronavirus. The cost-share provides federal funding to pay the National Guard to carry out missions to combat the pandemic. As of Aug. 21, most states and territories found the cost share reduced to 75 percent, despite the persisting need for vital Guard operations related to the pandemic. At that time, 33 U.S. senators sent a letter to Trump asking him to reverse those changes, which the administration did not do. This bill would restore the 100 percent cost share for any National Guard entity responding to the pandemic.

“Americans are hurting as this public health and economic crisis continues across the nation. The men and women of the National Guard and other first responders are a bright spot as states take action in the absence of effective federal coordination,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “It is the wrong time to cut back the federal resources that give governors flexibility to use these valuable citizen soldiers and airmen and women in serving their neighbors.”

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) also sponsored it.

“National Guard troops have been serving as frontline workers since the beginning of this pandemic, working to help keep their communities and their nation safe,” Duckworth said. “Trump’s decision to slash the federal funding that supports the deployment of these troops is infuriating, yet unsurprising given his repeated efforts to ignore and move on from a deadly pandemic that is still killing nearly 1,000 Americans every day. I’m proud to be partnering with Senator Leahy and my colleagues on this legislation that would fully restore this critical funding.”