LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she is ready to sign a $100 million economic stimulus plan to help families and small businesses struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor took aim at the Republican-led state legislature during her Tuesday (Dec. 15) COVID-19 briefing, urging them to take action on a number of issues, including bipartisan COVID-19 restrictions, unemployment benefits and the aforementioned stimulus plan.
“Yesterday, I sent another letter to the Legislature, urging them to work with me on priorities like $100 million in COVID-19 relief,” Whitmer said. “We know this virus is hurting our people, hurting our businesses.”
Right now, Michigan is under an order that has shut down many parts of the economy, including indoor dining at restaurants, in-person classes for colleges and high schools and entertainment venues.
That order, issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Nov. 15, was originally set to last from Nov. 18 through Dec. 8, but has since been extended to Dec. 20.
“There are people out there who have spent a lifetime building up their small businesses,” Whitmer said. “They’re hanging on by a thread.”
She accused the federal government of failing to pass a bill to help the state’s small business owners and said the onus falls on the state.
“We here in Michigan have got to step up and take action,” Whitmer said. “I’m ready to sign a bill, so it’s crucial for the Legislature to find some common ground and pass a targeted, state-based economic stimulus plan of up to $100 million to provide direct financial support to the families and small businesses that have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.”
Tension between Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature has existed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers didn’t approve of Whitmer’s emergency orders issued throughout the pandemic, saying she shouldn’t be able to make such decisions without their approval.
Legislators eventually got their way when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the law Whitmer was using to issue those orders is “unconstitutional.”
But days after Whitmer’s orders were shot down by that ruling, MDHHS came out and issued its own orders, which mirrored many of the ones that were previously in place.
Michigan reported 4,730 new COVID-19 cases and 183 additional deaths (71 from a Vital Records review) on Tuesday, bringing the state totals to 442,715 cases and 10,935 deaths since the start of the pandemic.