Michiganders say federal COVID relief plan comes at critical Michigan Advance time

Desiree Byrd has a vision for her stimulus check from the new COVID-19 relief plan. The 35-year-old Detroit is a mother of four and a vital worker, so she has plenty to do. And she plans to invest half of her check for $ 1,400 in the creation and distribution of senior care packages.

Desired Photo by Byrd

“It’s more about being able to give back to the community,” Byrd said. “I like to put things together for the less fortunate.”

Lou Johnson, a 61-year-old Detroit resident, active volunteer and foster mother, said the latest round of checks will help ordinary people.

“It will help because so many jobs have been lost,” Johnson said.

Congress this week pass Democratic President Joe Biden’s ambitious $ 1.9 trillion US bailout, but it received no Republican votes in either chamber. The entire Michigan Democratic delegation supported the plan; the entire Republican delegation rejected it, with U.S. Representative Lisa McClain (R-Bruce Twp.) summing up the GOP’s position that the package was “nothing more than a partisan Democratic wish list that will continue to fund liberal pet projects “.

Biden signed the legislation Thursday.

The plan includes a new round of payments to Americans of $ 1,400 per person. Individual taxpayers earning less than $ 80,000 a year and couples earning less than $ 160,000 are eligible for the cash injection designed to help people survive the pandemic.

Michigan governments are expected to receive a total of $ 10.3 billion, of which $ 5.65 billion goes to the state government; $ 1.7 billion for cities; $ 1.93 billion for the counties; and $ 250 million for state capital projects. Local governments receiving funds include, but are not limited to: Detroit, which is expected to receive $ 879 million; Flint, $ 99 million; Grand Rapids, $ 94 million; Lansing, $ 50 million; Kalamazoo, $ 40 million; Jackson, $ 32 million; Warren, $ 28 million; Muskegon, $ 24 million.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week described the legislation as “bold” and “historic.”

“President Biden and the Michigan Congressional Democrats have provided vital help to Michiganians and Americans across the country through this investment in our families, communities, small businesses and children,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Highlights of the plan
  • Direct payment for individuals and families: $ 400 billion
  • Aid to state and local governments: $ 350 billion
  • Schools: $ 170 billion
  • Unemployment Insurance: $ 163 billion
  • Public health: $ 109 billion
  • Child care: $ 56 billion
  • Small business assistance: $ 48 billion
  • Housing assistance: $ 45 billion
  • Food aid: $ 12 billion

Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, said the US bailout “overall provides much needed but temporary relief.”

“As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, it has become increasingly clear that an economic recovery will not happen overnight, especially for people of color, who have waited the longest in previous recessions to see gains from a rebound in the labor market, ”said Jacobs, a former Democratic member of the Michigan House and Senate. “We still have work to do to build a more equitable economy that works for everyone. “

Progressives lamented the lack of a key provision – an increase in the federal minimum wage from $ 7.25 an hour to $ 15 an hour that was passed in the House, but not in the Senate. In Michigan, the minimum wage is $ 9.65 an hour, but it has not increased this year because any increase is tied to the unemployment rate – which was too high due to the pandemic.

US Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.V.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.), Maggie Hassan (DN.H.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D- Del.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) And Angus King (I-Maine) joined Republicans against the measure. Most opponents argued that they wanted to gradually increase wages so as not to hurt small businesses.

In Michigan, 1.2 million workers – about 25% of the workforce – would see a pay rise with a minimum wage of $ 15, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, DC think tank. US Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) said she was “disappointed” that the Senate removed the measure.

“In the future, our residents cannot afford Democrats to negotiate against themselves. We were sent here to work on behalf of and for the people – they deserve that we do all we can to serve them, ”she said.


Childcare, business support and school reopening

Children, education and the safety net are at the heart of the relief plan.

There is $ 55 billion to fund child care programs and $ 1 billion is earmarked for the Head Start early learning program. In addition, a tax credit for child care is expanded. It provides $ 130 billion for kindergarten to grade 12 education and expands student loan waivers and emergency grants for students.

The effort aims to help reopen elementary and secondary school buildings safely and provide assistance to colleges and universities that suffered significant loss of income during the pandemic.

Unemployed Americans will receive a new round of federal payments amounting to $ 300 per week until September 6. The first $ 10,200 of benefits would not be taxed.

Households will receive assistance with rent, mortgages and utilities, and the homeless will be placed in housing. Through the Department of the Treasury, $ 21.6 billion will be allocated in the form of grants to states and local communities with at least 200,000 people. Each state and the District of Columbia will receive at least $ 152 million.

The increase in benefits under the supplementary nutritional assistance program will be extended until September 30. This will equate to a 15% increase in benefits for all participants, or about $ 27 per month per person. Another $ 1.15 billion has been allocated to the cost of government administrative expenses. Research of the Poverty Solutions program at the University of Michigan shows 12% of Michiganders are on food stamps.

The Special Supplementary Program for Women, Infants and Children will receive an investment of $ 880 million to expand access to fruits and vegetables for mothers and their children.

https://www.michiganadvance.com/2020/12/17/a-new-baby-and-a-9-month-furlough-with-no-end-in-sight-how-covid-19-is- stump-michigan-families /

The child tax credit could have a big impact on children living in poverty, which Solutions about 19% in the state – above the state average of 14%. the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a Washington, DC think tank, found that 117,000 Michigan children would rise out of poverty and nearly 2 million would benefit – 92 percent of those under 18 statewide.

CBPP Senior Research Analyst Claire Zippel Remarks US Census data shows millions of people “are still struggling to meet their basic needs a full year after the onset of the economic and public health crisis.” The relief program will help reduce these hardships and begin to restore children’s well-being and prospects for success, which the crisis has endangered with long-term damage.

On the healthcare front, $ 49 million is spent on expanded genomic testing, tracing and sequencing of COVID-19; $ 35 billion to expand the Affordable Care Act; $ 11 billion for community health centers and related facilities; $ 8 billion to hire more public health workers; and $ 6 billion for the Indian Health Service.

Businesses would also see more relief. The package includes targeted grants for small businesses worth $ 15 billion; $ 25 billion in a new restaurant subsidy program; $ 7 billion for Paycheck Protection Program assistance to nonprofits and digital information services; as well as $ 1 billion for theaters, independent cinemas and cultural institutions.

Portia Roberson, CEO of Focus: HOPE, believes the stimulus package will have a “significant impact” on families as her Detroit-based non-profit social services and skills organization which provides food for the elderly, community advocacy and youth development.

“It will help end the survival mode that people have been in for a year,” said Roberson, who is also a member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. “This funding will strengthen the global economy by giving people the money they need to pay their bills and support their children.” And it will provide funding for additional workforce training, because we know there are many who will need retraining for new jobs. “

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