Shaheen & Group of Senators Press the White House to Restore Full Funding for National Guard’s COVID-19 Response

August 11, 2020

**Despite facing a large budget shortfall, New Hampshire is only receiving 75 percent federal reimbursement for the NH Guard’s activation while several states are now receiving 100 percent**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, joined a group of 33 U.S. Senators led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) yesterday, asking President Trump to restore full funding to states for the National Guard forces responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Last week, the President 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, to standing 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 August 3, without warning or explanation, the White House changed that, with exceptions for Texas and Florida.  After a press inquiry, a White House official said the reason was a personal appeal from those governors. Three additional states last Friday received a short-term additional federal match to reach full federal cost share until October 1, however, New Hampshire was not included.

In the letter, the Senators wrote, “Congress has demonstrated repeatedly that we understand 32 USC 502(f) to include the ability for the National Guard, under command of state and territory governors, to respond with Federal resources to disasters that endanger Americans…. This new determination to reduce the cost share 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… We ask that you re-authorize one hundred percent cost share for all states and territories through at least December 31.”

The letter shares a similar goal to a call from the National Governors Association Friday, which can be found here.

The Senators’ letter can be read in full here.

Last week, Shaheen led a joint statement on behalf of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, slamming the President’s decision to approve a Guard activation extension at only 75 percent federal reimbursement for New Hampshire and the majority of other states, and with no explanation. She has consistently called for the administration to full fund the Guard’s activation federally. Shaheen and the congressional delegation recently wrote to the Trump administration requesting that the Guard’s activation be extended through December 31, 2020.