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Budget chairs: Lift July deadline; Senate wants federal help

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Michigan lawmakers are backing legislation that would waive a requirement that they pass the next state budget in less than three weeks, citing uncertainty over a major shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, a Republican, said Thursday he'll push for passage of the Democratic-sponsored bill. It would, for one year, lift the new July 1 deadline by which legislators must send Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a spending plan for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The Republican-led Senate also urged Congress to give the state flexibility to use federal relief aid to fill budget holes.