Gov. Whitmer calls on President Trump to extend Michigan National Guard to assist with COVID-19

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LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that the president authorize the use of Michigan National Guard forces through December 31, 2020. Title 32 authority, which allows Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits, was set to expire on August 21 due to a deadline set by the Trump Administration. 

“The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of the State’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Guard will be vital to our ongoing recovery as well,” said Governor Whitmer. “Beyond August 21, 2020, we will continue to require the Michigan National Guard to perform humanitarian missions across the state, such as helping run mobile screening facilities, testing, distributing food and medical supplies, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, disinfecting public spaces, and supporting public safety when required.” 

In addition to allowing Michigan to fully utilize the National Guard for recovery and reopening efforts, the extension of Title 32 authority means that many Guard members will qualify for federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill.  

“Since March, the men and women of the Michigan National Guard have stepped up to support the state’s response to COVID-19; this extension would allow us flexibility to continue our work with Governor Whitmer to protect our fellow Michiganders,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The uncertain nature of this global pandemic makes the National Guard a critically important asset as we keep up the fight against COVID-19 together in the coming months.” 

To view a copy of Governor Whitmer’s letter to President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, and FEMA Region V Acting Administrator Kevin Sligh, click the link below:  

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