Whitmer Calls for Federal Mask Mandate and Stronger Congressional Support

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has renewed her bid to get President Trump to draft a federal mask mandate, as she continues to cite increased cases of COVID-19 across the Great Lakes State and elsewhere in the nation.

Saying, “We need more federal help. We need a strong recovery plan for the entire country,” but arguing that the plan introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress fails to get the job done, she renewed her call for a federal assist.

The governor says, “After delaying action for months on the next COVID-19 relief aid package, President Trump, Sen. McConnell, and Republicans in Washington released a plan that fails to support states and communities as they continue to respond to the pandemic and denies adequate relief to the millions of hardworking Americans who have lost their job as a result of the Trump Administration’s mishandling of this crisis.”

She’s especially incensed that unemployment support is ending, saying, “Last week, 1.4 million people across the U.S. filed initial unemployment claims, the first increase since April, yet this proposal would reduce pandemic-related unemployment benefits that have been a lifeline for so many, including more than 1.1 million in Michigan who were relying on the $600 supplement to make ends meet before it expired last week.” She adds, “Making matters worse, Congressional Republicans and the White House are also proposing a move to a system that would calculate emergency unemployment benefits based on previous wages that would likely result in weeks, if not months-long, delays of getting critical relief to individuals and families already struggling to stay afloat. Our working families cannot go that long without this important economic lifeline. I hope Republicans in Congress will do the right thing and extend benefits at their current levels to help the more than 25 million unemployed workers impacted by this deadly pandemic.”

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Whitmer urged the U.S. Senate to support the plan of the U.S. House. Her Budget Director echoed her concerns pointing to the $6.2-billion loss in revenue over fiscal 2020-and-2021 which he called “a devastating blow to the Michigan budget.” He says that a third revenue estimating conference next month will be critical to determine how to cover the growing shortfall, but quickly adds that Congress must address the shortfall that is hitting states all across the country.

Gov. Whitmer says, “In April, Sen. McConnell said that he would rather see states declare bankruptcy than provide us with the federal support we need to protect our families and loved ones. The plan he announced Monday reflects that sentiment. It doesn’t include any additional funding for states like Michigan to provide crucial services to our residents. At a time when this country needs strong federal leadership, the Trump Administration and Mitch McConnell have once again fallen short. We need leaders who will help working families recover from this pandemic, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

The entire situation continues to be exacerbated by new coronavirus outbreaks. MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says that 78 new outbreaks in Michigan in the past week broken out in this manner:

  • 31-percent were from Nursing homes and other adult care institutions…
  • 22-percent stemmed from social gatherings with improper distancing…
  • 2-percent were from workplace situations…
  • 9-percent were from restaurant scenarios…
  • the balance came from childcare settings, agricultural sites, bars, personal care services, gyms and other locations…

Whitmer says today, “Michiganders are doing our part. We’re showing the rest of the country what it looks like to work together against this crisis,” and adds, “I will continue to do my part by calling on the federal government to help Michigan and states across the country.”