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Whitmer repeats call for Trump to fully fund Michigan National Guard

Michigan National Guard teams up with Mercy Health and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to provide free coronavirus testing in Muskegon Heights, Michigan on Saturday, May 23, 2020. (Alison Zywicki | [email protected]/TNS)
September 08, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says it’s been a month since she asked President Donald Trump to continue to fully fund the Michigan National Guard.

A presidential executive order in August extended the deployment of National Guard troops to help respond to the coronavirus crisis, but took federal funding in all but five states from 100% down to 75%, leaving them to pay the rest from late August to the rest of the year.

Whitmer requested a phone call with Trump in an Aug. 12 letter to discuss the cost share that requires Michigan to chip in 25% at the same time the state is experiencing a budget shortfall from decreased revenues during the pandemic. She says the president has not yet responded to the request.

“COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our state, and we need full federal funding for the Michigan National Guard in order to continue protecting our families and frontline heroes,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “Our Guard members have been vital to our COVID-19 response by testing thousands of people in communities across the state during the height of the pandemic, and will be crucial to our recovery efforts moving forward.”

Michigan National Guard members have operated testing sites in communities where more testing is needed, distributed personal protection equipment, assisted at food banks and supported public safety during the pandemic.

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Michigan’s congressional delegation has also asked for full funding in an Aug. 10 letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.

“The president should not be playing partisan games while people’s lives are on the line,” Whitmer said in the statement. “It’s irresponsible and irrational to fully fund National Guard activities in some states but not others. We need the president to step up and do the right thing for Michigan families, our frontline workers, and our economy.”

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© 2020 MLive.com