LANSING, Mich., Feb. 4, 2021 — Today, state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield) and House Democrats opposed House Republican legislation that would leave COVID-19 vaccine funding and other money in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, House Democrats announced a pandemic recovery plan that would immediately unleash over $5 billion in federal dollars to help Michigan workers, small businesses, families and schools impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, House Republicans pushed through a short-sighted appropriations package that falls far short of providing the relief that Democrats believe Michigan communities need.
“Simply put, the funding offered in the Republican’s bill is inadequate; people are counting on us and we’re letting them down,” said Brabec, who offered an amendment to increase funding for rent and utility bill assistance. “There are thousands of Michiganders who are at risk for eviction and are struggling to make ends meet across the board. We know that in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we need to keep folks safe, healthy and in their homes, and this bill just does not provide all of the relief our communities need.”
House Democrats proposed several changes to the bills during session, including:
- Bringing home all $90 million in federal stimulus for vaccine distribution throughout Michigan
- Bringing home all $575 million in federal stimulus to expand COVID testing, tracing and lab capacity
- Bringing home all $2.1 billion in federal stimulus to provide food assistance
- Bringing home all $661 million in federal stimulus to help with rental assistance and winter utility bills
- Adding $240 million in direct relief to small businesses
- Extending unemployment assistance from 20 to 26 weeks
“These funds were made available to us months ago, and while Republicans delayed action, instead choosing to play partisan games, the people of Michigan have continued to suffer,” Brabec said. “Families, businesses and entire communities are hurting, and we need to utilize all of the money available to us and bring those funds back to Michigan.”