Leahy, Schumer, Durbin, Duckworth, And Other Senators Who Have Been Leading The Push For Full Restoration Of Federal Funding For The National Guard’s COVID Mission, Hail Biden’s Executive Action

(TUESDAY, Feb. 9, 2021) -- Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) Tuesday praised President Biden’s restoration of full federal funding for National Guard missions responding to COVID-19.  The executive order of January 21 re-implements one hundred percent federal cost share for these missions, a step the senators had proposed in legislation introduced last August as coronavirus cases again began to surge.  Yet former President Trump had reduced cost-share for all but two states to 75 percent.

Their bill (S.4544), introduced by Leahy, was also cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mon.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bernard Sanders (D-Vt.), and Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.).  The senators reintroduced their bill in January as S.38.

The senators also praised President Biden for extending the National Guard full federal cost-share until September 29, providing stability for planning.

Leahy, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the longtime co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, said:  “I commend President Biden for recognizing the wisdom of full federal funding for the National Guard’s coronavirus response mission.  Americans have counted on the men and women of the Guard since the beginning of this crisis, while continuing to rely on them for disaster response, overseas deployments, civil disturbances, and, most recently, protecting our nation’s peaceful transfer of power.  As we have said, loudly and clearly: give the Guard full federal funding for coronavirus response so Americans can have the full support our communities need.”

“The National Guard has provided essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic and the previous administration’s decision to withhold some of their funding is egregious and needed to be reversed,” said Leader Schumer.  “President Biden’s decision to provide 100 percent of the cost share is right and could not have come at a better time as we face a critical moment in fighting this pandemic.  As we work to distribute the vaccine and the need for field hospitals and testing sites continues, Americans need the National Guard to continue carrying out their missions.”

“I’m glad we’ve finally restored the federal cost-share for National Guard missions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Americans have relied on the National Guard for so much during this pandemic, such as building field hospitals, managing testing sites, and helping the vaccine distribution efforts. Implementing full federal funding for the Guard ensures they can effectively carry out their missions in communities across America,” said Durbin.  

“I applaud this move to provide 100 percent of this critical funding.  National Guard troops have been serving as frontline workers since the beginning of this pandemic, working to help keep their nation safe, and I’m proud that the Biden administration took quick action on our request to recognize their service and sacrifice by fully covering the cost of their deployments.  By doing so, President Biden has reversed the infuriating decision by the previous administration to withhold some of the federal funding that supports the deployment of these troops,” said Duckworth.