Victory supports funding for food processors, others affected by COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Roger Victory on Wednesday supported legislation to invest $524 million in available federal funding to help Michigan families, workers, food processors and schools affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Although we’re likely to face stiff state funding challenges over the next two years due to the coronavirus crisis, we owe it to the hardworking people of Michigan to put the federal CARES Act funding to use where it’s truly needed most,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “In addition to supporting our first responders, front-line health care workers, direct-care providers, unemployed workers and schools, this funding will help save hundreds of local farms and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for Michigan families.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $12 million for food processors to ensure Michigan’s food supply remains safe and operational; $11 million for the Unemployment Insurance Agency to immediately hire more staff to help unemployed Michigan workers; $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits; and $45 million for at-home learning, summer education and assessment support for schools.

“By every definition food production is an essential service, but agricultural processors across the nation are being forced to shut down because their employees are not being prioritized as essential,” Victory said. “Thankfully, Michigan food processors are independently stepping up and doing an amazing job, but the current situation is unsustainable. This funding will make a huge difference, especially as more of our fresh produce becomes ready to harvest.”

SB 690 would also provide $100 million in bonus pay for local first responders; $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers at nursing, home health and daycare facilities; $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers; and $178 million to temporarily increase pay by $3 per hour for direct care workers — including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Video of Victory’s floor remarks on the resolution will be available at https://www.SenatorRogerVictory.com/video/.

The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting https://www.SenatorRogerVictory.com/photos/.