Trump approves extension of Michigan National Guard’s work until Dec. 31

Michigan National Guard performing COVID-19 test on a person.
Michigan National Guard performing COVID-19 test on a person.(Remi Murrey)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 3:46 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - President Donald Trump has extended the Michigan National Guard’s coronavirus support mission for the rest of 2020.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that her request to keep National Guard members on the job through Dec. 31 was approved. The coronavirus deployment had been scheduled to end on Aug. 21 before the president approved Tuesday’s extension.

Since being called up on March 18, the Michigan National Guard has worked on distributing health care supplies, food, personal protective equipment, warehousing items, disinfecting public spaces and helping with coronavirus testing.

“Since COVID-19 was first discovered in our state, the Michigan National Guard has been a crucial part of our emergency response, from conducting testing and screening, distributing personal protective equipment, and assisting at food banks across the state” Whitmer said. “Our dedicated guardsmen and women will continue to be a crucial part of our recovery efforts moving forward.

The extension would allow Michigan National Guard members involved with the coronavirus response to remain eligible for retirement and education benefits under the federal GI Bill.

However, Tuesday’s extension for the Michigan National Guard comes with a new caveat. The federal government has paid 100% of the cost for the deployment until now, but will require the state to pay 25% of the cost from Aug. 21 to Dec. 31.

“While I am grateful for the extension, the president’s decision to federally fund Guard activities at only 75% leaves states across the country with an additional cost when we’re already facing severe holes in our state budgets,” Whitmer said. “We need the president and Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to support states like Michigan.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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