Michigan Republicans unveil $2B COVID relief plan for residents struggling due to shutdowns

GOP takes shots at Gov. Whitmer in announcement of $2 billion plan

The Michigan Senate unveiled a new $2 billion relief bill.

LANSING, Mich.Michigan Republicans have unveiled a $2 billion COVID-19 relief plan for residents who are struggling due to shutdowns sparked by the pandemic.

Senate Republicans announced the plan Tuesday. They said it will provide another $2 billion for the fight against COVID-19 and help families, workers and employers who are struggling financially “due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shutdowns.”

“With this latest effort, we will have invested over $6 billion in COVID-19 relief to increase testing, distribute lifesaving vaccines, educate our students, and support our front-line workers, our small businesses and those who are out of work,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas (R-Midland) said. “This plan is responsive and responsible. It helps meet the dire needs facing our state and our people while also being smart in how we spend federal assistance dollars.

“Instead of issuing a blank check for the governor to use without a detailed plan, our plan funds our state’s most pressing needs and saves additional resources so we can continue to assess the situation and have the ability to respond to problems as they arise.”

Here are the details of the plan, according to the Senate Republicans:

  • $110 million in additional support for vaccine distribution.
    • One-third of the funding is dedicated to improving vaccine rollout.
    • The rest of the funds will be held in reserve until the governor’s plan is completed.
  • $170 million to increase pay for direct care workers on the front lines of fighting the virus in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • $220 million in emergency rental assistance to ensure Michiganders struggling financially can remain in their homes.
  • $25 million for mental health services and substance abuse prevention.
  • $300 million for Michigan workers and businesses struggling financially. These grants will offset property tax payments for businesses affected by shutdowns.
  • $150 million to help ensure the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund remains solvent.
  • $50 million to reimburse Michigan businesses who were charged licensing and inspection fees by the state.
  • $450 per pupil -- nearly $1 billion -- to tackle learning loss due to school closures, including funds to support summer school, mental health services and assessments.
  • $75 million to increase virus testing for students, teachers and staff in order to help in-person learning resume statewide as soon as possible. An additional $110 million in testing funds will be appropriated when a return-to-learn plan is finalized.

The general fund portion of the plan is included in Senate Bill 114, and the School Aid section will be inserted into Senate Bill 29.

Both bills are sponsored by Stamas and have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.