Illinois congressional delegation urges feds to pick up cost of National Guard activation
Illinois’ entire congressional delegation has asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to help states cover the cost of activating their National Guard to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter, signed by both Illinois senators and its 18 House members, urges Esper to authorize a section of federal law that would provide upfront federal funding for the guard’s work. Without authorization, the letter says states are required to pick up the initial costs while waiting months for federal reimbursement.
“Governors, along with their adjutants general, need more of these men and women now, and we must not let accounting gimmicks get in the way,” the letter said.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Moline Democrat who spearheaded the letter, said in a statement that the step would further improve Illinois and other states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Taking this step would empower Gov. Pritzker to further utilize the unique capabilities offered by the National Guard and alleviate any financial consequences placed on the state during this critical time,” she said.
Pritzker announced last week he had activated the National Guard to help with the COVID-19 response and assist with the anticipated need for logistical support and medical staffing.
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