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Republicans send COVID-19 relief spending controls to governor for likely veto

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A package of 11 bills designed to direct how COVID-19 funds are spent and championed by Republicans in the Legislature are bound for the governor's desk.

The bills passed both chambers and were given to Gov. Tony Evers for his signature or veto on Wednesday.

In written statements, Republican leaders in the Legislature, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), touted the priorities set forth by the bills.

The bills would direct funds from the recent federal COVID-19 relief law to infrastructure like rural broadband and road improvement projects. It would also give some of the money to assist businesses.

"We passed these bills to make sure there is an actual plan for the funding coming from the federal government," Vos said. "The governor announced some vague ideas in a press release, but we need a clear vision of how the funds will be prioritized to help Wisconsin continue to grow and thrive after the pandemic."

Check out all of our coverage related to the coronavirus here.

Republicans have dubbed the package the "For the People" plan.

The governor is likely to reject the proposals because they would effectively give the Legislature control of the federal dollars. If Evers vetoes the bills, he is free to spend the money how he wishes, including on some of the same priorities laid out in the bills.

Evers, a Democrat, has been at odds with Republicans since taking office in 2019, after GOP Legislators and the previous governor, Scott Walker, passed a series of laws limiting Evers' power before he could take office.