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Politics & Government

Whitmer Challenges GOP To Bargain On COVID Response

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Gretchen Whitmer provides an update regarding COVID-19 in Michigan, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. The governor urged bipartisanship to pass her MI COVID Recovery plan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said again Wednesday the Legislature’s Republican leaders are failing to bargain on a COVID-19 plan for Michigan. The governor said so during an online news conference.

At issue on the deadlock is how to spend $5 billion in federal COVID response funds, back-to-school plans, restrictions on businesses, and GOP calls for new limits on executive authority to issue emergency health orders.

Whitmer’s pushback included a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and some controversial comments he’s made. They include a personal insult directed at Whitmer and a debunked claim that the insurrection at the US Capitol was a hoax.

“My judgement will not get clouded by that noise,” she said. “ We’re going to stay focused and we’re going to deliver for the people of Michigan.”

The House GOP budget chair contested the governor’s version of events, and said progress is being made.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert said the House has adopted a plan to put up against Whitmer’s proposal. His office issued this statement:

“Negotiations on the COVID relief plan have actually progressed quite a bit – with the House approving a plan and the Senate preparing to do so. The governor just isn’t personally part of them. As I have said before, we will afford the governor as much input on the budget as she has afforded the people of Michigan during this pandemic. But I have meetings every day on this issue -- talking to our partners in the Senate, Democratic members of the House, and the State Budget Office to continue to advance the budget supplemental to the finish line.”

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