Action Item for 2-28-20 – Legislators Play Ping Pong While Children Go Hungry

In December 2020, the Federal Government authorized 5.6 billion dollars for COVID relief to Michigan with the intention that it be spent on desperately needed food and housing assistance, expanded unemployment benefits, vaccine delivery and other crises brought on by the pandemic.

The Republicans have been fighting the Governor, tooth & nail, to spend only a fraction of the money, while attaching purely politically motivated strings on what they will allocate. The latest political strings include reformulating vaccine distribution away from areas with the most vulnerable populations and mandating that all vaccine recipients be informed if fetal stems cells were used in the development of that vaccine.

Unfortunately, not only are the GOP members of our legislature fighting the Governor, they now are fighting each other …

When, over a week ago, the House passed a supplemental bill allotting only 3.6 billion of the 5.6 billion available funds, we thought that was bad. Well, this past Thursday, the MI Senate said “hold our beer” – and voted to allot only 1.6 to 1.9 billion!

And now, this week, the bill goes back to the House for another round.

While it was disappointing that the House allotted only $500 million of the $2 billion available for food assistance, it is astonishing to see that the Senate bill reduced it to ZERO! Any Michigander paying only casual attention to the news would know that food insecurity is off the charts. Before March 2020, about 1.3 million Michigan residents faced food insecurity and now (as of January) it’s about 1.9 million — up by 600,000 and most are children, according to Feeding America.

We assume there will be pressure on the House to reduce or eliminate the $500 million they allotted for food assistance. It is cruel for the same folks who cry for restaurants to open to deny food to our families who cannot even afford to eat. Do they not know that food support helps grocers, small farms, and other businesses in their communities?

So, this week our action is to urge GOP House members to stand firm and protect that money. We will be calling six, somewhat moderate, Republicans to let them know we appreciate their concern for the hungry families depending on them for help. We will also urge them to insist that all available food money be included in the bill as well as increased amounts for rental assistance, COVID vaccines and testing and other crucial support. These House members represent largely rural districts where food insecurity is widespread. See our suggested script below.

ALSO – If you can make it to Lansing at 9 am on Tuesday March 2nd, there will be a rally at the capital to: Demand OUR Federal COVID Aid. Click here for details.

Call these GOP MI House Members:

Thomas Albert – D86 Ionia (517) 373-0846 Brann – D77 Wyoming (517) 373-2277
Andrew Fink – D58 Hillsdale (517) 373-1794 Timothy Beson – D96 Bay City (517) 373-0158
Annette Glenn – D98 Midland (517) 373-1791 Scott VanSingel – D100 Newaygo (517) 373-7317

Possible Script for calling Representatives:
I am disappointed that both the House and Senate plans for allotting Federal COVID relief money fall well short of meeting the urgent needs in our state. However, I appreciate Represenative ________ ‘s concern for the hungry families depending on them by including $500 million for food assistance in the House plan. I urge Rep _______ to protect this money in the final bill. Food assistance not only helps the hungry, but supports the grocers, small farmers, and other businesses in our community.