LANSING, Michigan (AP) – On Tuesday, November 30, Gov. Whitmer’s administration said it wanted lawmakers to quickly allocate $ 300 million in federal pandemic rescue funding to support COVID-19 testing in schools amid a fourth wave of infections in Michigan.
The money was included in the relief bill approved by Congress and President Joe Biden in March. It will expire next summer and is part of a Request for additional spending of $ 2.5 billion that state budget director Christopher Harkins sent to Republican presidents of legislative appropriations committees on November 19.
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The GOP-led legislature returned to session on Tuesday after a two-week hiatus. Coronavirus case
“We would really like to see the school testing money allocated as soon as possible,” said Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the state budget office, saying it had a shorter deadline than other funds. “We would love to be able to help school districts isolate cases more quickly so that schools don’t have to reduce in-person teaching days due to outbreaks.”
The Senate plans to begin advancing a $ 3.3 billion proposal to spend federal infrastructure and pandemic dollars on improving water quality, including $ 1 billion to replace lead pipes and $ 680 million for dam security. The House intends to spend $ 250 million in public safety spending with a mix of federal and state aid. It’s unclear whether lawmakers and the Democratic governor will reach a deal in the coming weeks.
House Appropriations Committee chairman Thomas Albert, a Republican from Lowell, told reporters he is negotiating an additional “technical close-out” bill that is also linked to discussions over the disbursement of non-discretionary federal funding of both Biden’s coronavirus relief plan and the one signed by former President Donald Trump.
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âThere are a lot of them there. We’re trying to find areas where we can come together and do these kinds of things, âhe said.
Albert said the legislature previously allocated more than $ 500 million for COVID-19 testing, of which $ 210 million had not been spent. Much of Michigan’s federal relief funding can be spent over multiple years, he said.
âWe have been methodical. We were careful not to just write a blank check and give it to the governor, âAlbert said. âNow we are finding different ways to spend the money. It may be possible to use testing funding to help fill labor shortages in our hospitals and various health care providers. We dig through it.
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