Whitmer asks legislature for $100 million stimulus package


With nine session days left in 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the Republican-led Legislature to pass a $100 million COVID-19 stimulus package as well as several other pieces of legislation.

“This is the most urgent public health emergency our state has faced in our lifetimes, and it demands our full, immediate, and unified attention,” Whitmer wrote in a letter.

“I am hopeful that when the legislature reconvenes next week, we can work together in a bipartisan manner on the following priorities during the few remaining session days of 2020 to address the public health and economic crises our state is currently facing.”

That includes:

  • Passing a $100 million targeted, state-based relief plan
  • Passing a permanent extension of unemployment benefits
  • Passing legislation to protect public health

The legislature had previously extended unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, a temporary six-week extension provision set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

Whitmer also wants to pass a mask mandate.

“While there is real hope on the horizon with multiple vaccines becoming available in the coming weeks and months, we are entering what could be a very dark and deadly winter,” Whitmer wrote.

“As Michiganders, we owe it to our medical workers, first responders, and other frontline workers who are putting their lives on the line to protect us to unite so we can beat this virus together.”

The next quadrant meeting – where the state's GOP and Democratic leaders meet with Whitmer – is Tuesday.

Amber McCann, the spokesperson for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake, told The Center Square that Senate Republicans can’t endorse Whitmer’s plan without having access to its details – especially a funding source.

The state is facing a roughly $1 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2022, with a rainy day fund of $830 million.

“Sen. Shirkey is glad to see the governor reverse her position that there is nothing she can do for the workers and businesses impacted by her shut down orders,” McCann wrote in an email.

“The Senate is actively working on a responsible plan to get dollars to Michiganders in need. We will share that soon and would welcome support from the Whitmer administration.”

Lawmakers may split the final nine days between passing criminal justice reform and continued COVID-19 response for families and businesses.

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