Federal COVID-19 funding bill clears state Senate, heads to House

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State Sen. Lana Theis

On May 13, 2020, the Michigan Senate approved $524 million in federal COVID-19 funding to help deliver much-needed supplies to front-line workers and support for families in need of financial assistance.

“Michigan’s front-line health care, public safety, and other essential workers have been putting in long, hard hours to ensure our safety and well-being during the Coronavirus crisis,” said state Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton. “While the governor’s administration has been sitting on this critical federal funding for weeks, today the Senate acted to direct that funding to ensure that our front-line workers can continue to get the resources they need to do their jobs and some financial help to take care of themselves and their families as we continue the fight to overcome COVID-19.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $100 million in support pay for first responders, such as police officers, firefighters and EMS workers; $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers at nursing, home health and day care facilities; $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers; and $178 million to increase pay by $3 an hour for direct care workers, including those who provide care for seniors in nursing homes, disabled individuals and individuals with mental illnesses.

Additionally, SB 690 would provide $12 million for food processors to ensure Michigan’s food supply remains safe and operational, $11 million for the Unemployment Insurance Agency to immediately hire more staff to help unemployed Michigan workers, $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who are not eligible for unemployment benefits, $30 million for at-home learning and assessment support for schools, and $15 million for summer schools.

“It’s important that we put this federal funding to good use, and quickly,” Theis said. “Our state has experienced significant hardship, both from a health care standpoint and economically, and I am hopeful this bill gets signed as soon as possible to help those who are helping us.”

SB 690 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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2 Comments

  1. I admit that I don’t know much about needs of the funding areas mentioned in the article. I do know that there will be a budget shortfall this year. Should that money be used to help fill that shortfall? I expect the federal government to print more bailout money in the next relief package so maybe the legislature is counting on using the next round of free money to fill that gap? Thoughts?

    • Sean:

      No need to worry about funds.

      Michigan state Rep. Mary Whiteford, the Republican chairwoman of a health care appropriations panel, said the “state’s Medicaid enrollment could increase from 2.4 million to 2.8 million by the end of the year.
      We are just planning for major cuts moving forward,”

      Rather than push a Washington DC Republican controlled Senate for state aid to carry states over till the virus lets up, the state Republican legislators would rather cut funding for Medicaid recipients many of which already have 90% of the funding paid-for by the Federal Government due to the ACA.

      It is far easier for state Republicans to whack those who can not defend themselves then it is to make tough decisions such as increased taxes on those who can afford it and still be below what the HeadLee Amendment said was “Just About Right” for taxes.

What do you think?