Governor Whitmer Says Bipartisan Federal Relief Bill is a Good Beginning, Work Still Remains at Local, State Level  

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke after the U.S. House and Senate recently passed a bipartisan relief package that provides support for families, frontline workers, and small businesses. The package, she noted, does not include funding for state and local governments to fund crucial services to keep families safe. 

 

“I am glad that Congress has passed legislation that includes stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, rental and eviction relief, money for schools, and small business loans. This support will help so many Michiganders who have borne the brunt of the pandemic at an individual level, including small business owners who are worried about how they’ll make it through the winter, people who have lost work as a result of the pandemic, and more. I’m glad Congress was able to work together to get this done, but there is more work to do,” Whitmer said in the press release.

The roughly $900 billion package includes checks of up to $600 for every US adult, as well as $600 for each child dependent. The payment amounts are expected to somewhat phase out for people who make over $75,000 per year and are phased out completely for individuals who earn $100,000, which is similar to the qualifications for checks the government sent out to individuals in March.

The bill also includes $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits (in addition to state benefits) for 11 weeks, half of what Congress provided with the CARES Act this past spring. The details are being ironed out, but it also includes billions in dollars for small businesses, the transportation industry, schools, and for COVID testing, tracing, and vaccinations.

It would be the first pandemic aid passed by Congress since the CARES Act in March. Since then, aid programs have expired and nearly 8 million people have fallen into poverty, according to the article. Congress is attempting to get the plan on President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law as early as today, according to the report.

While this financial boost could help give many Detroiters a leg up with necessities for their bills, housing, and food, Whitmer said that more is needed.

“Michigan and states across the country need additional aid to state and local governments. For months, bipartisan governors across the country have been urging Congress to provide federal funding to states to fund crucial services like police and fire, emergency responders, Medicaid, higher education, and more. These services could face cuts without help from the federal government,” she said. “This cannot be the last relief bill we see come out of Washington. This virus will not go away at the start of the new administration. Like President-elect Biden has said, this relief bill will be a down payment. It does not mean that Washington’s work is done. I will continue to hold our leaders in Washington accountable as we continue working to distribute a safe and effective vaccine, grow our economy, and eradicate COVID-19 once and for all.” 

The second coronavirus aid package also includes support for small businesses and unemployment benefits.

Other parts of the package include:

  • $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, which subsidizes keeping employees on payroll
  • $35 billion in rental assistance and extension of a federal eviction moratorium
  • The deal includes legislation to end the practice of surprise medical billing
  • $82 billion for colleges and schools
  • $10 billion for child care
  • $13 billion for food stamps and children nutrition program
  • $27 billion for state highways and transportation industries, including airlines and Amtrak.

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