Texas

National Guard To Continue COVID-19 Aid In Texas Through 2020

On Monday, President Trump reauthorized funding for the National Guard to assist Texas with its coronavirus response.

Military personnel stock Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the Texas Department of Emergency Management warehouse in San Antonio.

The federal government will fully fund the National Guard operation in Texas through the end of 2020.

On Monday, President Trump reauthorized funding for the National Guard to assist Texas with its coronavirus response.

The Guard is currently operating under what’s known as Title 32 status, meaning governors are in control of their state’s members, but the federal government absorbs the cost. Federal funding orders were originally set to expire August 21.

Had the federal mission been terminated, the state of Texas would have had to make up the difference, potentially meaning lower pay and less benefits for troops.

"That is a tremendous financial — as well as personnel — assistance to the very robust response by the state of Texas to COVID-19," said Gov. Abbott at a press conference Tuesday.

Abbott activated the Texas National Guard in March to support the state in its fight against COVID-19. Since then, the troops have been involved with field testing, decontaminating facilities and storing and transferring personal protective equipment, among other tasks. In San Antonio, the Guard has been a regular presence at the food bank, and has stood up mobile testing sites and checkpoints.

The Trump administration's decision came down as governors across the country warned that funding uncertainty had compromised their coronavirus response planning. Over the weekend, some states started transitioning their Guard members from federal to state duty.

Texas was one of just a few hard-hit states to receive full federal funding. The Trump administration reduced the level of federal cost-sharing for many others, down to 75%.

Carson Frame can be reached at Carson@TPR.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame.

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