01.15.21

Leahy Will Reintroduce Legislation Guaranteeing Full Federal Reimbursement For National Guard COVID-19 Mission

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2021) – Lawmakers in the House and Senate Friday renewed their efforts to require the federal government to cover the full costs to the National Guard and their states for COVID-19 response efforts.

Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Tim Ryan (OH-13) introduced legislation in the House.  Companion Senate legislation will be introduced on January 21 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) when the Senate first allows introductions.  President-elect Biden has announced that his administration intends to provide 100 percent reimbursement to states for the Guard’s COVID-19 support.  Leahy is the incoming chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the longtime co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus.

In response to the public health crisis, members of the National Guard have been deployed across the country to assist with responses like coordinating personal protective equipment deliveries, enhancing testing capabilities and now delivering the vaccine.  The Trump Administration failed to implement a reliable plan for the National Guard’s COVID-19 response efforts, which included forcing already cash-strapped states to cover a quarter of the costs associated with deployment and pick up multi-million dollar tabs.

“The members of the National Guard have worked tirelessly to answer an unprecedented number of calls to help their friends and neighbors this year,” Senator Leahy said.  “Restoring full federal cost-share gives them the flexibility to continue to respond as we finish this fight in 2021 against the deadly coronavirus that has done so much damage to our country.”

“American families are suffering, and this dire public health crisis requires every available resource to bring it to an end and save lives,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “With state resources spread thin, the Trump Administration saddled cash-strapped states with the additional burden of paying for a portion of the National Guard’s critical response efforts. It’s past time for a national strategy that brings an end to these bureaucratic and political games to defeat this virus and I applaud President-elect Biden’s commitment to doing so. I thank my colleagues for joining me in this effort and will continue to see to it that the National Guard and our states have the support they need through this public health crisis.”

“This legislation ensures that states aren’t financially punished for utilizing the National Guard to perform its primary mission-protecting the American People. Now, more than ever, the federal government must do everything it can to finally defeat COVID-19,” said Congressman Ryan.

# # # # #