(WSYM) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed two bills that provide supplemental funding for her COVID-19 recovery plan while vetoing a third measure that would have also limited powers the executive branch of the state government has used to respond to the pandemic.
The bills signed by Whitmer include provisions she proposed, including a $2.25/hour wage increase for direct care workers, $283 million in federal emergency rental assistance to help ensure people can stay in their homes, up to $110 million in federal funding for vaccine administration, and up to $555 million in federal funding for testing and tracing.
However, Whitmer says the bills leave more than $2 billion in federal money earmarked for COVID-19 response unallocated by the legislature.
“I think it’s great news that we’ve been able to get some of the federal funding available to us appropriated, including passing two of my key proposals to provide a wage increase for direct care workers and increased funding to help expand vaccinations for Michiganders who are 50 years old or older,” said Governor Whitmer in a news release. “However, the reality is that there is more work to be done and there are still billions of dollars in federal funding that we need to get out the door to help businesses and families across the state. The bills I received were not negotiated with me or my administration, and I continue to call on the legislature to ensure that we work together to ensure we maximize every penny that is available. There were problems in the bills that I had to veto, and I expect the legislature to step up to fix the bill to allocate all of the money so we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”
“We are on a good path to recovery and our key metrics and numbers are improving, but we need to put the rest of the available federal funding to work, much of it aimed at helping businesses and aiding their recovery,” added Governor Whitmer. “The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and I thank every Michigander who has done their part in the response to the pandemic.”
Whitmer is calling on the legislature to meet with her budget director and work out a way to appropriate the unused federal funding.