Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin Provides COVID Relief Update for Michigan
MICHIGAN - Representative Elissa Slotkin held a tele-town hall meeting on Thursday, December 17th at 7:00 pm to update Michiganders on bipartisan efforts to pass a federal COVID relief package before the end of the year, during the ongoing pandemic.
Rep. Slotkin spoke to everyone from her office in Capital Hill in Washington D.C and was joined by two guests, Director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Robert Gordon, and Susan Corbin, the Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to answer questions and talk about specific issues and the pandemic.
Director Gordon gave a brief overview on the public health situation and the second surge of COVID and mentions the numbers of cases trending downward. “This isn’t going to be forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel due to the vaccines and have thousands in Michigan with Pfizer and Moderna. The process of distributing the vaccine are led by scientists and was rigorous and involved careful testing that medicines need to go through. We’re going to roll it out gradually first with healthcare workers, individuals who work in long term care facilities, and out to different parts of the population.”
Acting Director Corbin spoke about the economic state of play on the issues people are facing and says, “We are working and continuing to do everything we can to try to send unemployment to Michiganders whose jobs have been affected by this pandemic. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has launched 20 pandemic relief and recovery programs that supported more than 18,500 businesses and have retained 150,000 jobs across all 83 counties. We are committed to doing everything we can working with our partners at the federal level, with the governor, to restart the economy and expand resources and opportunities for workers in Michigan.”
An update was given by Congresswoman Slotkin about the state of play of negotiations going on in the U.S Capitol about another COVID-19 relief package that is being worked on and try to get more help on unemployment and stimulus payments in Michigan’s 8th District. Rep. Slotkin states that negotiations have been stalled since the summer, and was proud to say a group called the problem solvers caucus worked over Thanksgiving to come up with a $900 Billion proposal and help kickstart negotiations.
“I hear the desperation in people’s voices when I talk to them on the phone. We’re here this weekend to vote on it and the agreement will include some direct stimulus payment again. It probably won’t be $1,200 we saw last spring and will likely be closer to half of that, depending on your income, some form of direct payment will be in that bill. Secondly, enhanced and extended benefits and people that are on unemployment benefits expiring at the end of the year. This deal extends unemployment and could be up to 12 to 16 weeks and will likely put $300 more per check into unemployment payment. The third being the renewal of paycheck protection program (PPE) program to save businesses and people that work on their payroll. Not only people apply for a second time, we’ve clarified there loans won’t be taxed and lay out the terms to turn loans under $150,000 into grants as long as you put the right paperwork in order with your bank, you can turn that into free money as opposed to a loan that you have to pay back. There’s more money for food assistance to continue programs to make it easier for people to go to food banks, and money for our colleges and universities and 50% of that has to be turned around and given to students for grants for those in a financial situation.”
Slotkin believes that there will be an agreement and a vote on the next COVID package before Christmas.