WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is extending the federal government’s 100% reimbursement of COVID-19 response costs to states, tribes and territories until April 1, 2022, the White House said on Tuesday.
During a conference call Tuesday morning, White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zientes told governors that Biden was approving an extension of FEMA support to help continue FEMA-supported efforts such as vaccination clinics and vaccine-related public education campaigns. …
The expansion also continues 100% federal reimbursement for National Guard personnel deployed to combat the virus, including those tasked with helping local hospitals treat coronavirus cases.
The extension to early 2022 suggests that, following early announcements of defeating the pandemic in July, the Biden administration is gearing up for ongoing disruptions from COVID-19 into the next year.
A White House spokesman detailed the announcement to the Associated Press on Tuesday in connection with a private appeal to the governors.
“This is an extension of the order signed by the president on his second day in office and will provide you with the resources you need to continue firing weapons and fighting the virus,” Zient told the governors, the official said.
On the second day of his stay in the office, Biden signed an order directing FEMA to cover 100% of the state’s emergency costs related to the virus until September 2021. In August, when the more transmitted delta variant of the virus caused a spike in cases, Biden extended coverage for the rest of the year.
In the summer, governors complained that Biden waited until mid-August to approve the first extension. The White House hopes that seven weeks’ notice that federal support will continue will give states more flexibility in using FEMA and National Guard resources to support vaccinations, especially now that more than 100 million Americans are eligible for revaccinations and 28 million 5 11-year-olds have received a new vaccination permit.