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Sisolak reacts to Trump’s refusal to fully fund Guard

Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a statement Friday saying there was no “rational justification” for President Trump to deny full federal funding for the Nevada National Guard’s efforts to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the Guard’s activation in early April, federal Title 32 funding covered 100 percent of the related costs. In early August, the White House officially announced the federal government would fund 75 percent of the Nevada National Guard through Dec. 31. Since then, President Trump has approved full funding of National Guard duties in five states to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As a result of the president’s decision, Nevada will use coronavirus relief funds to cover the state’s share of the cost burden to keep the Nevada National Guard activated through the end of December.

Even before the official announcement, the governor’s office had made multiple requests to the White House, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence requesting full federal funding for the Nevada National Guard, also requesting the opportunity to discuss the request directly with President Trump.

The Nevada National Guard has been a critical resource for the state, providing assistance with community based testing, contact tracing, laboratory and logistical support operations, food distribution and staff in the state emergency operations center.

The governor’s office was informed last Wednesday evening that President Trump would not approve the request to provide full federal funding for the Nevada National Guard’s COVID-19 response effort.

“There is no rational justification for providing some states full federal funding for the Guard and denying a state like Nevada, which is still facing an increased transmission risk in our largest counties and devastating economic impacts as a result of this pandemic,” Sisolak said. “The Nevada National Guard has led our state in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be critical to the success of our recovery efforts going forward.

“I am disappointed in the president’s decision and urge him to reconsider based on Nevada’s current situation. As governor, I will continue to advocate to bring in more federal funds to help Nevada’s ongoing response efforts.”

Texas, Florida, California, Arizona and Connecticut have been granted full federal funding for National Guard activities related to the pandemic.

The Nevada National Guard’s coronavirus response marks the largest state activation in history.

The Nevada National Guard established four ongoing community-based sample collection sites and staffed 24 mobile sample collection teams around rural Nevada.

Ten of the mobile teams traveled to Native American communities throughout the state. Guard soldiers and airmen also maintained the state’s strategic stockpile and warehouses in northern and southern Nevada.

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