Charleston, WV – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today wrote to President Trump requesting the Administration extend the Title 32 authority for all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for at least 180 days. By doing so, the federal government would continue covering 100 percent of the costs of this activation.
March 27th – Senator Manchin and Senator Capito sent a letter to Vice President Pence encouraging the Administration to place the WV National Guard on Title 32 502(f) orders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This was in support of Governor Justice’s request.March 22nd – Present – Trump administration is authorizing Title 32 502(f) for states on a rolling basis, but only for 30 days which limits healthcare coverage for these National Guard troops.April 1st – During an Armed Services Committee Briefing, Senator Manchin questioned Robert Salesses, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities, on the implementation of the authorization and the intent of limiting healthcare for National Guard troops. He received assurances that the authorization time restrictions and effect on National Guard troop healthcare was being reviewed by the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget.
The Senators wrote in part, “This simple change will provide peace of mind for our troops and a steady state to enable our Governors to continue to respond to this crisis. Our National Guard troops are among the frontline workers in this pandemic, working to keep their communities and their Nation safe and healthy. We must make sure they receive the fullest protection and benefits available to them by law.”
Read the full letter below or here:
Dear President Trump:
During this time of national emergency, we write to request a revision to your March 30, 2020 “Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19.” We are concerned that this order precludes troops from qualifying for the full benefits they would normally be permitted under Title 32 orders.
Section four of your memorandum stipulates that the 100 percent Federal cost share “shall terminate 30 days from the date of this memorandum.” Unfortunately, the data clearly indicates that this global pandemic affecting all of our States will not be under control within 30 days. Furthermore, while it is not specified in statute, it is the policy of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget that many of the key benefits afforded to our National Guard troops are only available for deployments that exceed 30 consecutive days.
Therefore we respectfully request that you revise your memorandum to authorize Title 32 deployments for longer than 30 consecutive days, preferably through completion of response and recovery to this national emergency, or at least a minimum of 180 days. This simple change will provide peace of mind for our troops and a steady state to enable our Governors to continue to respond to this crisis.
Our National Guard troops are among the frontline workers in this pandemic, working to keep their communities and their Nation safe and healthy. We must make sure they receive the fullest protection and benefits available to them by law.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.