NH Delegation Statement on President’s Approval of Guard Activation Extension at Only 75% Federal Reimbursement
(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) issued the following joint statement after President Trump authorized an extension of the New Hampshire National Guard’s activation through March 31, 2021 to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis, but maintained reduced federal funding support. Since August 21st, New Hampshire has only been reimbursed 75 percent for the Guard’s activation rather than the previous reimbursement of 100 percent. The congressional delegation has repeatedly called on the President to restore full funding for New Hampshire in response to his decision earlier this year to reduce the federal reimbursement for New Hampshire and other states to 75 percent, with no explanation.
The President’s new extension comes barely a week after the New Hampshire congressional delegation called on him to extend the authorization and cover 100 percent of the costs for the New Hampshire National Guard to serve, activated under 502(f) authority, to continue its frontline work amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“As cases surge across the country and here in the Granite State, the New Hampshire National Guard’s services have never been more important. While we’re glad to see the President heed bipartisan calls to extend the Guard’s activation, his refusal to fully fund its mission during these challenging times is unacceptable,” said the New Hampshire congressional delegation. “We are witnessing record-high cases, hospitalizations and deaths – now is not the time to shortchange support for the Guard’s response efforts, which include staffing testing sites, conducting voluntary contact tracing, distributing medical supplies, and preparing for its upcoming mission to assist with vaccine distribution. Our state is already experiencing a severe a budgetary shortfall, and diverting crucial funds at this time to make up the 25 percent that the President is withholding risks stretching our cities and towns past their limits. We are facing a difficult winter ahead and need to have every resource available to help those most impacted by the pandemic. We urge the President to reconsider and to fully fund the Guard so together we can get to the other side of this crisis.”
Earlier this year, President Trump reduced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for National Guard units from 100 percent to 75 percent, with no explanation, and with the unexplained exception of several states. Since March, National Guard units in every state and territory have supported key COVID-19 response efforts, from distributing much-needed food, to running remote testing locations and standing up alternate medical care facilities.