GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 4, 2021 — Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), today joined Michigan House Democrats in opposing House Republican legislation that would leave needed COVID-19 vaccine funding and other money in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, House Democrats released 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 leaves some of Michigan taxpayer dollars back in Washington, D.C.
“It’s imperative that we provide all those affected by this pandemic the dollars they need to make it through this long winter. Our proposal will bring adequate funding levels for vaccine distribution, food, rental, and utility assistance, and unemployment benefits. The proposal put forward by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is a slap in the face for those who have suffered the most throughout this pandemic.” Hood said. “It’s time for my Republican colleagues to put their political games aside and bring funding levels to what are truly needed”
House Democrats demanded 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
During a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday morning, and again on the House floor today, Rep. Hood introduced an amendment to the current bill that would have permanently extended unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks—a step that would give those who have lost their jobs valuable financial security during their search for a new job. This amendment was supported by all Democratic members in committee but unfortunately was not adopted due to lack of Republican support.