Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not holding back. The Governor says federal dollars, approved by a bi-partisan vote, are being held up in Lansing.
Whitmer says schools and health agencies need the money to help kids learn and get vaccines out to Michigan residents.
“Other states are deploying these resources to support their children, to support business that are struggling, to roll out their vaccine distribution. Michigan is sitting on them!”
Whitmer is calling on the Michigan legislature to approve the funds and begin allocating them to where they’ve been directed to go.
The House Appropriations Committee has already allocated billions of dollars. However, almost as much is being held back.
One of the biggest sticking points is a question of accountability. Republicans say the only way to ensure fiscal responsibility is to dole out the money in portions to make sure agencies can keep track of the funds distribution. Democrats argue delivering the money in ‘installments’ only hurts people who desperately need the help to stay afloat. They point to businesses and individuals who need assistance to keep the lights on.
Another area on contention is a GOP demand that the state prove the money is necessary. Lawmakers have argued it wouldn’t be appropriate to spend money in areas that could support it without federal money. One requirement would be for the health department to outline how they determined who receives the vaccine.