Sen. MacDonald supports additional funding for workers affected by COVID-19 crisis

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Wednesday supported a supplemental budget bill to use $880 million in available federal funding to help Michigan families, workers and students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to use available resources to support the people of Macomb and throughout our state who have been affected by this public health crisis,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Our front-line workers have risked their health and made huge sacrifices to save lives from COVID-19, and they deserve our thanks and support. This bill will invest restricted federal CARES Act funding to buy personal protective equipment and give hazard pay increases for first responders and front-line workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $25 million for testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers like those at nursing and home health care facilities, $100 million in hazard pay for local first responders, $125 million to reduce child care costs by 30%, and $117 million to temporarily increase pay by $2 per hour for direct care workers — including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

“As we put this federal funding to use to reduce the impact of the pandemic on our people and way of life, we can also address critical mistakes made by the governor,” MacDonald said. “Our nursing home workers were put at risk when the governor made her tragic decision to place COVID-positive patients in nursing facilities. This will give them a pay increase and invest $1.4 million to perform infection control surveys, education and training.

“The governor unnecessarily hurt our economy and failed workers who lost their jobs. This bill will help small businesses reopen and ensure unemployed workers get the benefits they need to support their families.”

SB 690 would also invest $100 million for business restart grants to help reopen Michigan safely, $29 million for additional temporary workers to handle unemployment claims, $200 million for local governments for public health and safety costs related to the pandemic, $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits, and $43 million to make learn-from-home devices and connectivity more affordable and cover COVID-19 costs for schools.