Stabenow and Peters discuss keeping Michiganders safe in the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 11, 2020

(WXYZ) — Continued efforts to protect Michigan residents during the pandemic are crucial at this time.

We're finding out what is being done at the federal level from Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow in tonight's 7 UpFront report.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

We started out talking about the vaccine.

"When you think about how important it is to maximize that vaccine, you to make sure that people are, basically, lined up," Peters says. "So that we don't waste any of that getting it all across the country, and particularly in rural areas, is going to be challenging."

The Senators then addressed COVID aide.

"I don't think Congress should end this session this month until this gets done," Stabenow said. "People need help. We originally came together last spring in the CARES Act, actually two different times Congress came together in a bipartisan way, and then that all stopped. And the Senate Majority Leader and a number of folks in the Senate said no more needed to be done. The good news is that we have a bipartisan effort that had come together, there are many of us working hard every day, we have agreed on a short term package to go through the end of March that would continue help for small businesses, some extra help for our restaurants, our theaters, other venues that have had to shut down completely. We would extend unemployment insurance with an additional $300 a week."

"All of the things that we put in place last Spring end the end of this month and it's ridiculous because the pandemic has not ended and we have, literally, thousands and thousands and thousands of people in Michigan that are barely holding on, going into the Winter months, may lose their home, can't keep the heat on, or food, trying to struggle and hold on to their business and it's not right, and there's no reason for it," she says. "We're the United States of America. There is absolutely no reason why we can't come together in the middle of a once in a lifetime health pandemic and help the people of our state and our country."

"That's the encouraging thing, it's exciting to have, hopefully, approval very shortly for Pfizer. There are other companies that are also either about ready to get approval for their vaccines, several others that will likely come online over the next few months," Peters says. "We need to celebrate that it is coming, it is light at the end of a tunnel I think it's very important for us to step back and realize that we're still in a very dark period right now. These next two or three months are going to incredibly challenging. You can't get the vaccine out that quick. You have to make it, it's complex, you've got the logistics. That means we all have to do our part. We have to wear masks. We have to maintain social distancing. We have to wash our hands. We can't congregate. We're all tired of it. I'm tired of doing it. But we have to do it to save lives, to make sure that we don't push our hospitals to overcapacity, and all of them are very near capacity right now."

"But I think it's a little easier to do your individual part when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's there," Peters says. "But we have to do everything we can over these next two or three months."