Supporting Ohio communities during a pandemic

By Sen. Sherrod Brown

In the middle of this public health crisis, I am in constant communication with Governor DeWine, Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, and other health officials around our state. I’m hosting calls with officials throughout Ohio, listening to Ohio communities and working to get them what they need as we work on federal response packages. In Congress, my most important priority is getting resources quickly to the Ohioans who need help.

In early March, we passed an $8.3 billion bill that includes at least $15 million in immediate funding for Ohio, including local health departments, with the option to apply for more. The best thing we can do for our economy is to get this epidemic under control.

We then passed a second round of legislation that includes emergency paid sick days language, and that would guarantee testing for coronavirus is free to everyone, provide additional resources to states, invest in frontline health workers, and strengthen food assistance benefits for Ohioans.

In the third and most recent round of relief legislation puts up to $1,200 directly into the pockets of every single middle-class and low-income Ohioan. It represents a Marshall Plan for our hospitals that will get resources to our health care workers immediately. It expands Unemployment Insurance by $600 per week and ensures that all workers – including contract workers, self-employed, and part-time workers – can get the benefits they need to support themselves until it’s safe to go back to work. It gets funding to the state of Ohio and cities and counties, to help them avoid cutting jobs and services. And it places a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during this crisis, and up to a year of mortgage forbearance that allows homeowners to delay payments.

The Administration wasted precious time earlier this year, putting our country’s response behind where we should be. But our Ohio officials of both parties have done an excellent job, trying to make up for the Administration’s lost time. Will continue working with Governor DeWine and with my colleagues of both parties to get help directly to Ohio workers, and to our health care system.

By Sen. Sherrod Brown