State Senator Shirkey and State Representative Wentworth:
We write to urge the State Legislature to immediately allocate billions of dollars in unspent federal relief dollars available to the state of Michigan to protect public health during the pandemic.
Nearly nine months after Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan, the Michigan State Legislature has yet to appropriate billions in federal COVID-19 funds that are urgently needed to mitigate the adverse health and economic impacts of the pandemic. While we appreciate your actions taken earlier this week to appropriate some of the funds, the fact remains that there are billions of unappropriated dollars that could be helping the people of Michigan right now as Michigan is experiencing the highest rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country.
That is why we were surprised to learn that the State House adjourned early--with billions still unspent and rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, placing incredible stress on our health care workers and hospitals. Hospitals have once again been forced to delay non-emergency procedures for patients because care beds are needed for the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. These relief dollars could be used to further help our hospitals and keep Michigan students in schools and families in their homes, yet most of these funds have been held up under your leadership.
In the American Rescue Plan, Congress gave states like Michigan the flexibility in how to spend billions of dollars in federal relief money to respond to our state's unique needs. These relief dollars could be used to help Michigan families, small businesses, teachers, students and public health professionals during this pandemic and should be made readily available now to ensure the State can effectively plan and respond to challenges in real time.
In Congress, we worked hard to bring home billions of dollars to Michigan to help Michigan families, small businesses and seniors get through this pandemic. We implore you as leaders of the Michigan State Legislature to act swiftly to allow the State of Michigan to use all available resources to combat the pandemic.