April 08, 2020

Manchin Applauds Funding For National Guard Troops On The Front Lines Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Charleston, WV – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to provide federal support to West Virginia by giving the Governor the ability to deploy National Guardsmen under Title 32 502(f). Senator Manchin is relieved that the Administration heeded his call to extend these orders to 31 days so National Guard troops mobilized during the COVID-19 pandemic will receive the vital federal benefits they need, including healthcare, to stay safe during these deployments.

“This is an important step in the right direction. Our National Guard troops are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and it is essential that we provide the healthcare benefits they need to stay safe. I will continue to work to ensure that the implementation of this extension is done correctly so that our troops are covered. We must work together to defeat this pandemic and our National Guard soldiers and airmen in West Virginia and across America are essential to caring for our citizens and providing the essential services they need,” said Senator Manchin.

Senator Manchin’s efforts on this extension are outlined below:

·         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 – April 7th – Trump Administration authorized 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. 

·         April 3rd – Senator Manchin led a letter with his colleagues to President Trump requesting the extension of the Title 32 authority for all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for at least 180 days.