More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states test people for the coronavirus and trace the spread of infections will have their deployments end on June 24, one day short of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits, a senior Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official told Politico on Tuesday.
The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding the effort to deprive the National Guard members of their benefits.
The official, representing FEMA’s New England region, told dozens of colleagues on an interagency call last week that a sensitive messaging strategy would be needed to explain the upcoming dismissal of vital frontline workers, as well as questions about the apparent shortchanging of first responders.
The plan to end the deployments, many of which started in late March, goes against the wishes of a bipartisan group of governors and lawmakers who have been urging the White House to extend the federal order for several more months.
They warned in a recent letter to President Donald Trump that ending federal deployments just as states are reopening “could contribute to a possible second wave of infection.”
Because the National Guard members must self-quarantine for two weeks before returning to civilian life, states could lose their services as soon as early next month.
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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