Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican congressional leaders did not take any action after Thursday’s meeting to address issues around the almost $1 billion left out of Michigan’s final budget.
A major sticking point among Republicans and Whitmer, besides approving a supplemental spending bill, is the governor’s ability to move money around approved budgets. GOP members want to reign in the governor’s ability to do this; however, the governor has said she will not change the rule.
Amber McCann, a spokesperson for Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), told the Detroit Free Press the Senate Majority Leader was “willing to accept the deal as long as it carried the weight of law.” McCann also added that the governor “has proven a simple handshake agreement is not enough.”
Before Shirkey’s camp discussed the meeting, talks seemed to be going well as Whitmer told reporters Thursday they were “very close” to getting a supplemental budget getting done.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), who also took part in the meetings, said they had “productive conversations” with Whitmer that will lay a “foundation for future discussions.” Yet, Chatfield admitted Shirkey, Whitmer and himself all still had concerns they needed to work on.
Supplemental budget talks have been going on since Whitmer cut 147 items and moved around $625 million in the budget from the state’s budget October 1.
According to the Detroit News, Republicans introduced 24 supplemental spending bills costing more than $260 million. Some issues the GOP wanted to restore funding to include charter schools, veteran services and rural hospital grants. However, these bills have been vetoed by the governor.
Whitmer, along with Sen. Curtis Heurtel (D-East Lansing), introduced their own $476 million supplemental budget that focused on issues the governor believed the GOP left out of their plans. The Democrats’ supplemental bill called on covering community college tuition for people 25 and over, the Associated Press reports.
This weekend, lawmakers will begin a three-week vacation that will last through Thanksgiving.
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