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Gov. Whitmer seeks Legislature approval for $400 million COVID-19 relief bill

In the absence of a federal COVID-19 relief bill, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the Legislature to approve a $400 million COVID response package before the end of the year.

The governor’s call for $300 million is on top of an earlier $100 million request.

Kurt Weiss with the state budget office says the money is needed to help set up a vaccine distribution system, pay direct care workers, add more contact tracing, and more to help hospitals, businesses and families with the immediate crisis.

“What’s at stake from a people standpoint is just making sure we can get through these next couple of months, which we know are going to be difficult,” he said, “and this funding will help us do that.”

Weiss says the money is available due to better-than-expected tax collections.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s reviewing the request.

GOP leaders and the governor have been battling over her administration’s COVID restrictions. The future of those orders could become a bargaining point.

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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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