Editor’s note: This is part I of coverage of the Legislative Breakfast.
BEAVERCREEK — The Greene County Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Breakfast May 1 was missing just one thing this year — breakfast.
Members logged onto Zoom from their home computers Friday morning to listen to their legislators give an update on how each of them are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Staffers for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R), and U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton) in a pre-recorded video, touched on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
“Most of our efforts have been toward combating COVID-19. The CARES Act was passed a few weeks ago,” Sam Bain from Portman’s office said. “As it was passed it included $4.3 billion for the CDC as well as local and state health departments.”
According to Turner, local healthcare facilities have received $1.7 million in funding from the CARES Act.
Bain, in a nod to Greene County as a military community, said there’s also support in the relief package for the Department of Defense, with $17 billion set aside for businesses — like defense contractors — considered crucial for maintaining national security, as well as $20 billion set aside for Veterans Affairs.
For small businesses, the PPP part of the bill provides loans that can be forgiven if used toward payroll, rent or utilities, Bain explained. He said about $350 billion of the program passed, and also includes funds for larger businesses that have over 500 employees.
In the first round of funding in Ohio, there were 60,000 loans totaling $14 billion, Bain said. Congress then put an additional $320 billion in the program, he said, adding that as of Wednesday, there were 960,000 loans nationwide totaling $90 billion.
“Those funds ran out quickly the first time. They’ll be expected to run out quickly this time,” Bain said. “So if you or another business hasn’t applied for that I would encourage you to do that sooner rather than later.”
In addition to the additional PPP funds, the latest bill included another $75 billion for healthcare providers, another $60 billion in disaster loans and $25 billion for additional testing across the country, Bain explained.
“Widespread testing across the country … is really important as we begin to reopen the economy,” he said.
The Senate headed back to Washington, D.C. this week and is expected to begin talking about the next stimulus package.
“Supporting our state and local governments, that is crucial,” Mike King, for Brown, said. “Also figuring out where we go from here to stabilize our economy to make sure we keep businesses open and do everything we can to support small businesses and the economy as a whole.”
Turner said, looking ahead, he’ll, too, continue to support legislation to assist businesses and individuals in Greene County.
“Like many other communities around the nation, ours has felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” Turner said. “But I’m proud to say that I have witnessed many people rise to the occasion of keeping those around them safe, whether it be by donating food or simply staying at home. I’m hopeful our community will continue to support one another during this time.”