Duggan to take part in White House talks over national recovery plan

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan is set to meet with President Joe Biden Friday in the Oval Office as part of a bipartisan group of governors and mayors providing input on national recovery legislation.

The White House and Duggan's administration confirmed the mayor's plan to travel to Washington D.C. to take part in talks about Biden's "American Rescue Package."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks at a press conference at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Feb. 11, 2021. It was announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be given to Detroit residents who are disabled.

John Roach, a spokesman for Duggan, said the White House reached out on Wednesday to seek Duggan's participation.

"Mayor Duggan has been in near-daily conversations with members of the Biden administration, but as you can imagine, an invitation from the president is a special honor," Roach said.

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Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan in January to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations and boost financial aid to those struggling from the continued economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The president's aid package proposes $20 billion for a national vaccination program that he's said he hopes will speed the rollout of vaccines to 100 million people in his first 100 days in office and $50 billion for regular testing to help schools reopen. 

If passed and distributed to states based on population, Michigan would receive $604 million and $1.5 billion in funding under each program, respectively. 

The plan also would help advance Biden's plan to reopen most schools by the spring and deliver more resources to help stabilize the economy. 

The proposal, which follows $4 trillion in rescue spending, seeks an hourly minimum wage of $15, higher and longer-lasting unemployment benefit payments and $350 billion in aid for state and local governments. 

Duggan, who endorsed Biden in 2019, formed a relationship with the former vice president during the Obama administration after Duggan was elected in 2013 amid the city's bankruptcy. Duggan has touted Biden's role in the auto bailout as well as on transportation funding, mortgage relief and money to combat blight in the city. 

Detroit was out front early in its efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus and was among the first in the nation to obtain rapid testing kits.

Duggan said this week he's been communicating to the state and federal governments that Detroit is ready to ramp up vaccinations with a boost in its allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine from 15,000 doses per week to 25,000 per week.