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MI Senate may still push big cuts, despite fed aid

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network



Republican leaders in the state Senate say money approved by Congress to help states with Medicaid and schools may not help budget negotiations at the state Capitol.

The money Congress approved for schools must be used for schools. But some state officials call the Medicaid funds "funny money" that could be used at the Legislature's discretion.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says lawmakers need to still consider making deeper cuts to Medicaid, despite the federal funds.

"We're in a position now that if we don't make tough decisions today, they're going to be pushed off into the future and they could be very likely be exponentially worse," he says.

Bishop says the federal funds are a one-time deal that should not be spent quickly and easily, because it won't be there for future budgets. That could set the Legislature up for a long season of budget negotiations, even though some lawmakers hoped the federal money would make the process go a little bit easier.

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