Michigan House Democrats present $5 billion COVID relief and recovery plan

Lawmakers agree they need a plan to end the coronavirus pandemic and boost state’s economy, and they need it now
Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 10:37 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (02/01/2020) - Republicans controlling Michigan’s legislature and Democrats across the aisle share some of the same goals for Michiganders: ending the coronavirus pandemic and boosting the state’s economy.

They just need a plan to get there, and lawmakers agree they need it now.

“Obviously, there’s a natural urgency here, and we need to go through our process,” Ben Frederick said. Frederick is a House Republican representing Michigan’s 85th District, including Shiawassee County and part of Saginaw County.

“The folks need the elected officials to really come through right now,” Amos O’Neal said. O’Neal represents Michigan’s 95th District, covering the majority of Saginaw County.

Amos is part of the Appropriations Committee that will be discussing the recovery plans, including one introduced by House Democrats on Monday. It mirrors a $5.6 billion request from Governor Whitmer on January 20.

“The people across the state of Michigan are suffering some of the same issues: education, COVID relief, vaccines, unemployment, many small businesses across the state of Michigan, some have been just devastated, and many won’t come back,” O’Neal said.

Specifics of the plan include $90 million for better vaccine distribution, $2.1 billion in food assistance, $2 billion to Michigan’s public schools, and $270 million for small business relief.

Frederick, however, says he doesn’t trust this administration’s management of these funds, citing unemployment fraud and a crashing system.

“I think there’s a place for the legislature to put in those measures that would allow that money to be stewarded in a way that the public could have confidence in and certainly not in a way that would jeopardize a very worthy outcome,” Frederick said.

O’Neal says they’re asking for a straight up or down vote to get those federal funds dispersed quickly, and he’s expecting to find common ground during a critical time.

O’Neal says the appropriations committee will be meeting this week.

You can read the specific details of the GOP plan online by clicking here.

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