National Guard troops serving on coronavirus missions in the United States will remain on deployment through Christmas, but only Texas and Florida will receive full federal funding for them, according to a White House memo issued Monday.
The federal government will pay for 75% of the costs for the other deployments, even though nearly all governors and National Guard leaders had lobbied the Trump administration to keep the troops on federal Title 32 status that allows federal funds to complete missions that have been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports Stars and Stripes.
The same status also provides Guard troops with pay benefits, such as education and health care, that are not afforded to them through state payments, as well as a housing allowance and retirement benefits.
The deployments were to end on Aug. 21, but now have been extended to Dec. 31, after the death toll for the pandemic passed 155,000 and almost two dozen states saw infection spikes.
More than 24,900 Army and Air National Guard members had been deployed in 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia as of Monday, but at the height of the deployments in May, almost 50,000 troops had been activated.
The Trump administration had authorized the use of federal funds, but through memos that went state-by-state.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement that while the Michigan National Guard has been a vital part of her state's emergency response, and she's grateful for the extension, the decision to pay 75% of the costs leaves her state and others with costs while they're already facing budget woes.
The National Governors Association asked President Donald Trump to act on requests nationally to keep troops deployed, but not to delay.
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