WASHINGTON — Montana’s delegates in Congress are urging President Donald Trump to approve federal funding that would allow the Montana National Guard to assist in efforts against the coronavirus.
The following is a press release from the offices of Rep. Greg Gianforte, Sen. Steve Daines and Sen. Jon Tester:
Congressman Greg Gianforte and U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to swiftly approve federal funding for the Montana National Guard to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We write to urge you to quickly approve the request made by Governor Steve Bullock for additional authorities and funding under Title 32 U.S. Code 502(f)(2)(A) to assist the State of Montana confront the COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Bullock requests this authority for the Montana National Guard as they respond to incidents related to COVID-19 emergency response efforts,” the members of Congress wrote to President Trump.
Several states across the country have begun to mobilize their National Guards to assist in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under Title 32, Montana’s governor has the authority to deploy units to communities across the state to help distribute food, support local test facilities, and assist first responders and health providers. Additionally, this request would allow the federal government to cover the cost for these critical missions.
On April 1, the governor of Montana increased the Montana National Guard force to full-time status and plans to use the Montana National Guard to help COVID-19 emergency response efforts across the state.
“We urge your prompt approval of this request so Governor Bullock may fully use the Montana National Guard to support Montana’s emergency response efforts. Thank you for your prompt consideration of this critical request,” they concluded.
Last week, the House and Senate approved, and the president signed, the bipartisan CARES Act that includes $1.4 billion for deployment of the National Guard. This funding level sustains up to 20,000 members of the National Guard under the direction of the governors of each state for the next six months to support state and local response efforts to the public health crisis.