Feds to continue picking up COVID-19 tab

In a boost for Florida and other states, the Biden administration on Tuesday issued a memorandum extending through the end of the year a move by the federal government to fully fund COVID-19 disaster costs. 

The federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, generally covers 75 percent of costs associated with responding to disasters or emergencies, while states absorb the other 25 percent. 

But according to the federal government "when conditions warrant" and if authorized by the president, 100 percent federal funding may be available "for a limited time." Biden issued a similar memo in January after first taking office. 

In that memo, he upped federal funding of FEMA to 100 percent, retroactively applying it to January 2020, when the pandemic was in its early stages. Biden provided full federal funding through Sept. 30. 

The memorandum issued by Biden on Tuesday extends the 100 percent funding through Dec. 31. The National Governors Association issued a statement praising the extension, pointing to such things as National Guard costs in helping with the pandemic. 

"With the increasing infection rates and hospitalization due to the COVID-19 delta variant, and the possibility of other variants to emerge, continued federal support is critical to combating this pandemic," the governors association said in a news release.