WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors, including New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments.
As part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have objected to this initiative, Biden’s push has some GOP support among governors and mayors.
“You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said at the start of the Oval Office meeting. “They’ve been working on their own in many cases.”
Lujan Grisham's office said the New Mexico Democrat not only advocated for more federal funds, but also for continued increases in vaccine shipments.
"President Biden made it very clear to me directly: His government wants New Mexico to succeed in our struggle against Covid-19 and he and his administration are fighting in Congress to get New Mexicans every resource we need as part of our ongoing economic recovery after this year of crisis," Lujan Grisham said in a statement following the meeting.
She has said the state is pushing for federal approval for mobile clinics that would be capable of administering the vaccine in more remote and underserved parts of the sprawling state. The governor and health officials hope the novel effort can serve as a model for other states to expand distribution beyond population centers and large clinics.
Also attending Friday's meeting with Biden were Republican Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Larry Hogan of Maryland, along with New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The mayors of Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Arlington, Texas, were at the meeting too.
The trip marked Lujan Grisham's first out of her state since the pandemic began, and it came just days after the state ended its quarantine requirements for visitors and residents returning to New Mexico.
She was scheduled to return to New Mexico late Friday night.