Michigan’s Standstill Over Federal COVID Relief Funds Continues

It’s been a month since Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her $5 billion COVID relief plan. Republican legislative leadership have put forth their own plans which would leave billions in federal funds unused.

It’s been a month since Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her COVID relief plan that would use over $5 billion dollars in state and federal money to aid schools, small businesses, and vaccinations. Republican leadership in the House and Senate have ignored Whitmer’s plan and put forth their own, which would leave billions in federal money unused.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Whitmer says all of the money should be utilized quickly.

“This is crucial support that we need to deploy at the earliest possible moment,” said Whitmer. “Right now we’re leaving that $5 billion just sitting on the table. Other states are deploying these resources, Michigan needs to as well.”

The House GOP plan would leave $2 billion unallocated, while the Senate GOP proposal would fail to use nearly $3 billion. Whitmer wants Republican leadership to come to the bargaining table, saying “It’s time that we figuratively get in the room and negotiate the details and get it done. Because every day that goes by, that’s $5 billion that could be infused into our economy and our efforts to protect people.”

Whitmer’s COVID plan would spend over $5 billion quickly to put cash toward schools, small businesses and vaccine expansion. “Once we pass the Michigan COVID recovery plan and negotiate a comprehensive budget, we can turbocharge our vaccination efforts and come out of the pandemic and economic turndown stronger than ever,” said Whitmer.

The Michigan Senate is set to vote on the GOP COVID plan next week. It’s unclear if embattled Majority Leader Mike Shirkey will negotiate with Governor Whitmer beforehand.  

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.