ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — States need more federal funding and increased access to test kits, ventilators and other supplies to fight the coronavirus, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday.
Hogan spoke on behalf of the National Governors Association at a news conference at his residence in Annapolis, Maryland. Hogan, who is chair of the NGA, held a conference call with other governors Wednesday and compiled a list of five immediate needs from the federal government.
“We need all levels of government working together to get through this crisis,” said Hogan, a Republican.
Governors want maximum flexibility for the use of the National Guard and more guidance on how the Defense Production Act will be implemented, he said. The act, invoked by President Donald Trump on Wednesday, gives the federal government broad authority to direct private companies to meet the needs of the national defense.
Hogan said governors also are requesting a delay or greater flexibility for completing the 2020 census and the transition to Real ID.
Hogan said Maryland has waived state requirements, so that driver’s licenses won’t expire during the state of emergency in Maryland to prevent crowds at Motor Vehicle Administration offices. However, federal law requires Real ID compliance by Oct. 1. Hogan said governors don’t want people coming to MVAs with the documents they need to present in person to be in compliance.
“Other governors all agreed and said, ‘Yes, that’s a big problem for all of us.’ So, we’re just asking to push the pause button on all these things that require interaction with people where they would spread the disease,” Hogan said.
The NGA also will push for dedicating at least 50% of funding in the phase three supplemental budget that Congress is considering, Hogan said.
The governors will bring their requests to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a call later Thursday, Hogan said.
“I will then be reaching out to leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress” later Thursday, Hogan said.