Hawai‘i Delegation Calls On President To Extend Funding For Hawai‘i National Guard’s COVID-19 Response Operations

National Guard COVID-19 Operations Include Contact Tracing, Food And Medical Supply Distribution

HONOLULU – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) and U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawai‘i) and Ed Case (D-Hawai‘i) today called on President Trump to approve Governor David Ige’s request to extend authorization and funding for Hawai‘i National Guard’s COVID-19 response operations.

“These brave soldiers and airmen are performing essential missions, such as contact tracing, operating mobile swab teams, delivering health education to at-risk communities, screening travelers, and supporting food and medical supply distribution. We also anticipate that the Hawai‘i National Guard will be instrumental in supporting the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the public,” the delegation wrote in their letter to the president. “Your approval of this extension will give the Federal Emergency Management Agency the authority to amend the current mission assignment and release needed resources to the State of Hawai‘i as we continue to work to combat this virus and protect the public.”

The full text of the letter is below and is available here.

 

Dear Mr. President:

We respectfully ask that you expeditiously approve Governor David Ige’s October 26, 2020, request to extend the authorization and funding under 502(f)(2)(A) of Title 32, U.S. Code for Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 response operations. An extension of this authorization and funding through March 31, 2021, is critical to the public health and safety of Hawai‘i. We also urge you to restore the 100 percent federal cost share for these missions.

The Governor’s request would allow the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue critical and timely support across the State of Hawai‘i that is essential to helping the public remain safe during the pandemic. These brave soldiers and airmen are performing essential missions, such as contact tracing, operating mobile swab teams, delivering health education to at-risk communities, screening travelers, and supporting food and medical supply distribution. We also anticipate that the Hawai‘i National Guard will be instrumental in supporting the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the public.

It is critical that we avoid any disruption to the Hawai‘i National Guard’s COVID-19 response operations. Any lapse in the authorization and funding under Title 32 would be detrimental to our pandemic response and long-term economic recovery. Your approval of this extension will give the Federal Emergency Management Agency the authority to amend the current mission assignment and release needed resources to the State of Hawai‘i as we continue to work to combat this virus and protect the public.

We appreciate your attention to this request and your support of the Hawai‘i National Guard’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sincerely,

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