Michigan House approves $ 465 million COVID-19 relief bill and sends it to Governor Whitmer
Michigan residents and businesses desperately in need of cash to survive are likely to see some extra help from the state, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both legislative chambers approving a $ 465 million relief plan. dollars.
The Michigan House of Representatives voted 97-5 on Monday on the package, following a 35-2 state Senate vote on Friday. The measure now goes to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office, who has called on state lawmakers to approve hundreds of millions of COVID-19 aids.
Key elements of the measure include more than $ 63 million in grants for small businesses and grants of up to $ 1,650 per person for those who have lost their jobs or wages due to health-related prescriptions. to the pandemic.
The small business loan program caps grants at $ 20,000 for businesses that are completely closed and $ 15,000 for businesses that are partially closed due to pandemic orders.
The bill also includes millions to help the state and local communities provide and administer COVID-19 vaccines, additional personal protective equipment and other funds to keep frontline workers safe.
Although it was not immediately clear, the wording of the legislation indicates that the funds could be available as early as January.
“The coronavirus has created an impossible situation, and many leaders have done their best. But the simple truth is that the state government’s uneven, inconsistent and often politicized approach to this virus has created hardship for far too many Michigan residents, ”said Speaker Lee. Chatfield, R-Levering, in an emailed statement.
“This is an important vote and an important spending plan to help families, but it is only a temporary solution. In the future, the state government must provide better answers.
On Saturday, a Whitmer spokeswoman said the administration was reviewing the measure. But widespread bipartisan support in both chambers likely indicates the governor will back the measure.
State Representative Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, supported the measure. But as a steakhouse owner, he called the bill a “cold baked potato” which, while useful, wouldn’t do enough to keep struggling restaurants afloat.
He echoed calls from State Senator Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, for lawmakers and voters to call their federal officials and ask Congress to approve more support for business and workers.
The vote in the House comes on the same day that congressional lawmakers are expected to approve a roughly $ 900 billion federal relief plan. This package includes a payment of $ 600 to most Americans, hundreds of millions of federal aid for businesses, and a temporary addition of $ 300 per week to unemployment benefits.
Like the state’s package, if passed, it’s not immediately clear when residents or businesses would actually see relief funds hit their bank accounts.
Most of the state bill’s funding is used to extend unemployment benefits until the end of March.
Invoice details include:
- $ 220 million to extend, not increase, unemployment benefits until March.
- $ 100 million in risk premiums for frontline workers helping fight COVID-19. This extends a $ 2 hourly increase offered earlier this year until the end of February.
- $ 79.1 million for the administration and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
- $ 63.5 million for a “Small Business Survival Grant Program.”
- $ 45 million in direct aid to people who have lost their jobs or been on leave due to the pandemic. Eligible Michigan residents can receive up to $ 1,650 through this fund.
- $ 22.55 million for testing vulnerable communities, such as nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
- $ 3.5 million for local concert halls.
With $ 45 million in employee grants and grants capped at $ 1,650 per person, that leaves money for about 27,000 people. However, more people could receive help if each person does not receive the maximum amount of relief.
While the House and Senate both announced the benefits of the bill, they also shot Whitmer. Legislative Republicans have always argued that the challenges small businesses face are as much the result of state health orders as of the pandemic.
Whitmer and state health officials repeatedly argue that data and science point to temporary indoor eating bans, mask requirements and collection restrictions save lives.
The Michigan house is expected to adjourn for the year later today.