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House Dems call for “up-or-down vote” on Whitmer COVID-19 plans

state capitol building in lansing, michigan at night
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Democrats are pressing the Legislature’s GOP leaders to vote on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plans to spend federal COVID-19 assistance.

State House Democrats have asked for an up-or-down vote on a nearly $5.7 billion package that’s almost identical to Whitmer’s proposal.

House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski says this is federal money that’s waiting on approval by the Legislature.

“And so our hardworking Michigan taxpayer dollars have taken up residence in Washington, D.C. instead of doing the work we need done here in the state of Michigan," she says. "Michiganders across this state need those dollars here now.”

She also says political fights should not get in the way of appropriating money that’s already been approved by Congress.

Representative Joe Tate is the senior Democrat on the state House Appropriations Committee. He says most of the money would come from the federal government. And the state could lose some without legislative action to accept funds.

“We have to have these resources available and ready for Michiganders, and we’re happy to have conversations. At the end of the day, though, we know we need to get resources out and out as quickly as possible,” he says.

State House Republicans introduced their own plan last week that breaks from what Whitmer proposed. The GOP plan would spend less and includes shifting decisions on school closures and student sports to local health departments instead of the state.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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