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Michigan National Guard to continue COVID work through year's end, but state will pay 25%

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

President Donald Trump has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for the Michigan National Guard to continue its COVID-related work through Dec. 31, the state announced Tuesday, but in a few weeks the state will be required to pick up 25% of the tab.

Whitmer requested National Guard assistance in March, about a week after the coronavirus reached Michigan. Trump granted that request, but the National Guard's work was to wrap up Aug. 21.

March:Whitmer calls up National Guard to help assemble, load COVID-19 response gear

In July, Gov. Whitmer made another request, this time that the Guard continue its work for the rest of the year. Among its achievements is assisting the Michigan Department of Corrections in testing every single one of the state's 36,000-plus prisoners and 12,000-plus staffers. 

On Tuesday, Whitmer's office announced that Trump had granted the request.

But while the feds picked up the entirety of the cost of its COVID-related efforts from March through Aug. 21, the state will be required to pay 25% from Aug. 21 to Dec. 31.

Audrey Rice is helped out of a military vehicle by members of the 125 Infantry, Michigan National Guard after being evacuated from her home in Midland.  "We've just been here a year from California and we just bought a house.  The water in the basement was up to the ceiling , you could not go down a step.  We should of left last night but we have two carts and I don't know."  Flooding along the Tittabawassee River in downtown Midland, Michigan on May 20, 2020.  (Image by Daniel Mears/ The Detroit News)

It's been a busy 2020 for the Michigan National Guard. In addition to carrying out testing and distributing food and medical supplies, the guard was called to Midland after a two-dam break led to massive flooding, and to Kalamazoo, Lansing and Grand Rapids for crowd control during protests.

A spokesman for the Michigan National Guard could not immediately be reached.

Whitmer, in the statement, expresses appreciation for the help, but concern for the cost.

"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.