Michigan House Approves Bipartisan $465M COVID-19 Relief Bill
Michigan families could soon be seeing some economic relief in the form of a bipartisan bill approved by the Michigan House of Representatives.
While the Republican led legislature has primarily been at odds with Michigan's Democratic governor, the two sides have at least temporarily put their differences aside to extend some much-needed relief to those struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related orders.
Senate Bill 748 was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on the morning of Monday, December 21. The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Whitmer for her expected approval. The move also comes on the heels of U.S. Congressional leaders striking a long-awaited stimulus deal that includes $600 checks and $300 federal weekly unemployment benefits for Americans. A vote on the federal relief package could come later Monday, December 21.
Highlights of the state bill include $64 million in small business survival relief, $220 million to extend unemployment benefits, $45 million in direct payments to workers who have been impacted by the virus, $75 million for hospitals and healthcare workers, $22 million for increased testing, and $57 million for vaccine distribution.
Michigan House of Representatives Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield had this to say of the freshly passed bill;
This budget bill provides critical support to the workers and small, family businesses who have been left behind by their government and extends a lifeline right when they need it the most. People are worried about the effects of the latest shutdown and what it means for their families. We are listening and looking for ways to help. Of course, the best way to help people is to follow the science and safely and securely reopen Michigan’s schools and small businesses. Until that happens, we will continue to fight for the people we represent, support working families with our votes and ensure everyone can continue to make ends meet.
State Representative Matt Hall, of Marshall, released a statement shortly after the announcement of the bill's advancement saying he voted in favor of the funding to help Michigan distribute COVID-19 vaccines and boost testing while helping those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the virus and burdensome economic shutdowns.
Michigan must have a healthy population and a healthy economy coming out of COVID-19 to ensure the state rebounds effectively,” Hall said. “That balance is essential. People have been put out of work and unable to make a living through no fault of their own by Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders and recent health directives. They must have resources available to them so they can pay bills and support their families. The support we provided today works towards that as we continue this fight.
Governor Whitmer released a statement that read in part;
This bipartisan relief bill will provide families and businesses the support they need to stay afloat as we continue working to distribute the safe and effective vaccine and eradicate COVID-19 once and for all. There is still more work to do to beat this virus and grow our economy. All Michiganders have a personal responsibility to do their part and mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where the virus can easily spread from person to person. And I urge everyone who is still doing last-minute holiday shopping to buy local to support your favorite businesses and restaurants.