Today I have spent a good chunk of time chatting with our local business leaders from my kitchen table, reaching out to them to hear about what challenges they are facing and what will be helpful to them.
This afternoon, I participated in a conference call with Southwest Michigan First and nearly 250 business leaders from the area. We discussed the challenges facing our businesses, both large and small. I provided an update on the Coronavirus Stimulus Package being worked on in the U.S. Senate and also discussed a few other items I continue to work on while still here in Michigan.
Today, I also helped lead the bipartisan effort to secure more Personal Protective Equipment for health care workers by cosponsoring legislation urging the President to make quick and effective use of the Defense Production Act during the greatest public health crisis in a century. The bottom line is that we need to get more Personal Protective Equipment to our medical community who are on the front lines working to keep our nation safe. Click here for more info.
Also today, I joined my friend Rep. Debbie Dingell in sending a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take action to strengthen federal assistance to those receiving continued health coverage under COBRA. Given the expected increased demand for COBRA coverage in the coming weeks, it is imperative that we provide stability for Americans to preserve their existing health coverage and continuity of care during this unprecedented health emergency.
Early this morning I joined Michael Patrick Shiels on his radio show to discuss the latest efforts to get federal relief for workers, families, and businesses. Things are moving quickly and things continue to change, but we need bipartisan action that can actually move through the Senate and the House and be signed by the President. You can listen to my interview here.
Lastly, the Governor announced today a "Stay Safe, Stay Home" order, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. I support her call-to-action plan to flatten the curve and stay apart, and I have urged the Governor to set up a “ war room” with authority to grant exemptions for cause. Remember, folks can still go to the grocery store, get carry out, and go outside for walks and hikes as long as they remain six feet away from others. If you have questions, you can contact the Michigan Coronavirus Helpline at 1-888-535-6136.
These are challenging times, but I am confident that if we limit person to person contact and stay home for now, we will overcome this crisis.
As always, if you are in need of assistance, please feel free to contact my office and we will do our best to help: upton.house.gov/contact.
Stay safe, and God bless,
Member of Congress
Unemployment Benefits for Michigan Workers
Under the governor’s order, unemployment benefits will be extended to:
Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or 1-866-500-0017. A fact sheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here.
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
Small Business Administration Helping Small Businesses
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. SBA recently approved Michigan’s request for an Economic Disaster Declaration; because of this, eligible businesses can apply for loans here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
SBA also provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business outside of disaster loans. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, click here.
Whirlpool, Green Door Distilling Co., and other private businesses helping out
Over the weekend, Whirlpool announced they were sending hand sanitizer, gloves, and soap to Spectrum Health Lakeland as the hospital system gears up for expected patients. They are also getting ready to send masks and more gloves this week.
And a Kalamazoo distillery is shifting its focus from spirits to sanitation during the coronavirus pandemic. Green Door Distilling Co. is now producing bottles of hand sanitizer to help support the community during the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Learn more here.