On Aug. 10, 34 U.S. senators led by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked President Trump to restore full funding to states for the National Guard forces responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week the president reduced FEMA reimbursement for National Guard units from 100% to 75%, with no explanation, and with the unexplained exception of Florida and Texas.
Since March, National Guard units in every state and territory have supported response to help Americans, from distributing much-needed food, to running remote testing locations, to setting up alternate medical care facilities. After initial reluctance, the White House authorized using federal dollars to support the mission to provide states flexibility and members of the Guard equal benefits. On Aug. 3, without warning or explanation, the White House changed that, with two exceptions. After a press inquiry, a White House official said the reason was a personal appeal from those governors.
In the letter, the senators said: “This … comes at the worst possible time, as positive cases continue to rise, and food security and other basic needs increase due to the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic…”