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Trump: Feds to pay 100% for Illinois National Guard COVID-19 deployment

The Illinois National Guard was deployed earlier this month by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to help in the COVID-19 crisis.

The Illinois National Guard operates a COVID-19 drive-thru test site for medical personnel and first responders on March 24, 2020.
The Illinois National Guard operates a COVID-19 drive-thru test site for medical personnel and first responders on March 24, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

The federal government will pay the costs of calling out the Illinois National Guard, activated by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this month, to assist the state in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Donald Trump on Monday, in a memo to the Defense and Homeland Security secretaries, extended the benefit to the states of Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan. The three states will get the extra federal help for 30 days.

Illinois National Guard members are being deployed mainly for logistic support and medical staffing, used heavily at coronavirus testing sites around the state.

In a Monday order, Trump said, “To maximize assistance to the Governors of the States of Connecticut, Illinois, and Michigan to facilitate Federal support with respect to the use of National Guard units under State control, I am directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security to fund 100 percent of the emergency assistance activities associated with preventing, mitigating, and responding to the threat to public health and safety posed by the virus that these States undertake using their National Guard forces, as authorized by sections 403 (42 U.S.C. 5170b) and 503 (42 U.S.C. 5193) of the Stafford Act.”

In addition, “I am directing the Secretary of Defense, to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with mission requirements (including geographic proximity), to request pursuant to 32 U.S.C. 502(f) that the Governors of the States of Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan order National Guard forces to perform duty to fulfill mission assignments, on a fully reimbursable basis, that FEMA issues to the Department of Defense for the purpose of supporting their respective State and local emergency assistance efforts under the Stafford Act.”

As of Monday, there are 380 Illinois National Guard members working to help respond to the COVID-19 emergency, assisting local officials in Chicago and throughout the state.