Michigan House passes nearly $1 billion in federal aid to fight COVID-19

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that aims to use almost $1 billion in federal funding appropriated to fight COVID-19.

Some of the money has been available for use since December 2020, but laid dormant.

“After nearly a year, with multiple waves of COVID-19 come and gone, the vote was finally called to allocate federal relief that has been available since Dec. 21, 2020. As our hospitals are filled to capacity, health care staff are pushed to the breaking point and people go without live-saving care because beds are occupied by COVID patients, it has never been more urgent to bring these taxpayer dollars back home to Michigan and out into the communities where they can help treat and mitigate this disease,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinki.

“Our constituents deserve to go to work and come home safe. They deserve to send their kids to school and have them come home safe and healthy. They deserve more testing and treatment facilities to help identify and control the spread of the virus. This money will help them do it, and I was proud to finally be able to vote for it.”

The funds come from the American Rescue Plan and aim to help Michigan residents and small businesses.

“Today, legislative leaders came together to put Michiganders first and make another monumental investment in Michigan’s families, communities, and small businesses. For months, we have been working together with the legislature and we have been negotiating together in good faith, finding a collaborative way to effectively spend the federal dollars sent to Michigan by the American Rescue Plan. 

Today, we took another big step forward in finding common ground and agreement on how to spend some of those federal resources, including resources to help kids safe and learning in school, protect seniors in nursing homes, and get vaccines out the door even faster. I am grateful to State Budget Director Chris Harkins, Sen. Jim Stamas, and Rep. Thomas Albert for the hard work they put in to deliver critical aid to families, communities, and small businesses as we continue building our economy back stronger than ever.

Our progress is a testament to what’s possible when we put work together, and this bill will build on progress we made earlier this year to enact the largest education investment in state history and pass a balanced, bipartisan budget that made game-changing investments in skills, bridges, childcare, and so much more. I will analyze the legislation with key members of my administration, and I look forward to signing the supplemental soon.”   

Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The funds will go towards:

  • $150 million for COVID school testing to keep kids safe and learning in-person. 
  • $140 million for rental assistance to help Michiganders stay in their homes. 
  •  $36.3 million to help communities tackle lead, fund water distribution, inspections, blood testing, and more. 
  • $14.1 million for a Nursing Home Strike Teams grant to help older Michiganders stay safe in nursing homes. 
  • $10 million to support teacher recruitment, training, development, and retention. 
  • $6.9 million for Michigan State Police to help them continue protecting public safety. 

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