Trump says he will extend National Guard coronavirus help to states through mid-August

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President Trump said Thursday he will extend the order allowing the National Guard to aid states in their fight against coronavirus through mid-August.

“The men and women of the National Guard have been doing a great job fighting the CoronaVirus,” Trump tweeted. “This week, I will extend their Title 32 orders through mid-August, so they can continue to help States succeed in their response and recovery efforts.”

In late March, nearly 15,000 Air and Army National Guard members were deployed to over 22 states and territories to aid with COVID-19 response missions. They worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to increase medical capacity, deliver food to hard-hit communities, provide support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and provide transportation and assessment support to health-care providers.

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Earlier Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to Trump asking him to extend federal funds of national guard forces helping the state to combat coronavirus so that guard members would be deployed long enough to qualify for federal retirement and education benefits.

“I want to ensure the brave men and women serving in the National Guard receive the benefits they’re entitled to and have earned," Whitmer said in a statement on Thursday.

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Earlier in May, over 100 members of Congress sent a letter to Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor asking them to ensure National Guard personnel “are not being inappropriately prevented from accessing the benefits earned by their service.”

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Whitmer’s request would have extended federal pay and benefits for National Guard forces from the June 24 cutoff date to July 31. The June 24 end date set by FEMA would leave many guard members one day short of the required 90 days of service they would have needed.