Senate budget committee approves over $4.4B in federal funding

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas said the supplemental budget bills approved by the committee on Wednesday would invest over $4.4 billion in federal funding — including all the state’s remaining COVID-19 relief funds from December.

“This plan would continue to responsibly invest billions of dollars in federal assistance to provide much-needed relief to Michigan families, schools and communities and help get people back to work,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Our goal is to continue to be responsible with how we use this once-in-a-lifetime federal support to maximize the benefits for everyone in our state. Much of the funding would help struggling families with food and rental assistance, provide important COVID-19 testing, and invest $1.4 billion in child care support to help people trying to return to work.

“We are also ensuring that this federal assistance is used with an eye toward making wise investments that will benefit us for years to come, such as enabling local communities to better improve their roads and helping schools educate our students.”

Senate Bill 36 includes $3.5 billion in federal and state funding, including:
• $1.4 billion in federal funding for child care grants to lower tuition
• $726 million in federal support for the Supplemental Food Assistance Program;
• $347 million in federal COVID-19 testing funding, including $20 million for testing in schools and $20 million for testing in corrections facilities;
• $378 million in emergency rental assistance;
• $35 million for substance abuse prevention and treatment;
• $32 million to address mental health issues during the pandemic;
• $4 million to provide home-delivered meals to seniors;
• $46 million in FEMA-approved payments for disaster assistance; and
• $260 million for hospitals and nursing facilities to help cover COVID-19-related costs.

The bill also invests $387 million in federal transportation funding. Of that funding, $261 million would be conditional upon the enactment of SB 394, which would direct $261 million of the federal funding to local governments for local road repair.

SB 216 includes $943 million to restore school funding previously vetoed by the governor, including $840 million in federal Emergency and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, $10 million to reimburse parents for summer school expenses, and $87 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grants for nonpublic schools.

The ESSER funding was appropriated in House Bill 4048 but effectively vetoed by the governor with her veto of HB 4049. The other funding was included in both HB 4048 and SB 29 and vetoed by the governor.

SBs 36 and 216 now head to the full Senate for consideration.