Missing from Michigan's latest lockdown: Federal funds to buoy businesses
Apart from the nuances of Michigan's newest business and school restrictions, there's another difference between the November and March/April lockdown measures: money.
"We need more leadership at the federal level so we can make it through this winter," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last Sunday.
Winter is coming for Michigan as COVID-19 ramps up around the state. The spike in new cases has put the state in a three-week pause and leaving locals out of work.
But the financial aid that accompanied much of the spring's restrictions that shuttered businesses and closed schools isn't available. A new source of funding from Congress hasn't been approved in months.
On Sunday, Whitmer pleaded with federal representatives to shore up holes where the state cannot. The state's unemployment agency currently receives around 32,000 calls a day asking about benefits.
In the past, unemployment kept people afloat with $600 every two weeks and financial support for small businesses with the CARES Act. But both of those funds have dried up.
"People are frightened for good reason," said Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint). "We were able to mask over I think and deal with some of the problems that we had when covid first hit us because congress was able to act and get this help. We have to do it again."
Kildee was on Capitol Hill Tuesday advocating for federal assistance.
He wants to see another round of direct payments to families, extended unemployment benefits, funding for health care workers, and bailouts for small businesses as well as more COVID-19 testing.
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"What we can't seem to get is the Senate to come to the negotiating table. Senator (Mitch) McConnell unfortunately is still getting his signals from president trump and president trump is completely disengaged. He's just not really involved in this anymore and it's a sad thing."
Michigan Senator Gary Peters echoed a similar sentiment in a statement, reading: "…it's past time Congress passes and enacts bipartisan, meaningful relief for families, small businesses, workers, schools, hospitals, health professionals and communities…"
So far the state has paid out almost $26 billion in unemployment benefits to residents. And the tally won't be going down anytime soon.