LANSING, Mich., Oct. 21, 2021 — Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a virtual press conference today calling on Lansing Republicans to release federal funding that has been unallocated since December. Though the increase in COVID-19 cases in Michigan is slowing, areas of the state are still seeing outbreaks.
“We have been calling for the release of this money for nearly an entire year. We are still fighting COVID-19 and our hospitals, nurses, and testing facilities are stretched to the limit,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “We’ve seen what happens when legislative leaders put their differences aside and put people first — a historic bipartisan budget that truly delivers for Michigan. We’re asking our Republican colleagues to once again do what’s right for the people of this state and put forward an appropriation bill that brings our money home. We’ve been calling for this vote for 10 months now, and we will continue to call for it until we lose our voice because we refuse to lose the war against COVID-19.”
In June and September, the Michigan Legislature passed K-12 and general budgets, respectively, for fiscal 2022 that make transformational investments in education, child care, clean water, repairing infrastructure and more. However, more than $350 million from the December 2020 federal stimulus dedicated to COVID testing and contact tracing that would help state officials manage the spread of the virus. Even more money from the American Rescue Plan passed in March remains unspent as well.
“In the last few weeks, Republicans in Lansing have passed bills that would make it harder to vote and allow tax breaks to benefit private schools in violation of the Michigan Constitution. If only they cared as much about beating the virus as they did their own partisan agenda,” said state Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren). “The people on the front lines in the COVID fight are ready and willing to put these resources to work and help us get out of the pandemic for good. All they need is for the Legislature to step up and do its job, and that’s all we’re asking for.”