Biden extends FEMA coronavirus aid for states through July 1

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is extending the federal government’s 100% reimbursement of COVID-19 emergency response costs to states, tribes and territories through July 1, the White House announced Tuesday.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients informed governors on a conference call that Biden is approving the extension of Federal Emergency Management Agency support to help continue FEMA-backed efforts like vaccination clinics, mass testing sites and surging hospital resources to deal with local case spikes.

“FEMA’s priority throughout the response to COVID-19 has been to coordinate and provide the necessary resources and personnel states, tribes and territories need to adequately respond to the pandemic,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said. “Today’s extension of the 100% cost-share through July 1, 2022, builds on our efforts to assist impacted communities across state and federal levels.”

The extension through the first half of the year is a sign that the White House continues to see a need for federal resources in combating COVID-19 even as Biden tries to guide the country to live with the coronavirus while case counts recede.

Recent examples of FEMA funding include $1.2 million given to Ball State University in Indiana last month to cover on-campus testing and $91.8 million to Wisconsin to reimburse for COVID-19 testing costs and surge staffing in treatment centers.

Biden, a Democrat, first signed an order directing FEMA to cover 100% of state emergency costs related to the coronavirus on his second day in office through September 2021. He subsequently extended it to the end of 2021 and again through April 1.

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