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. This week I had calls with officials in Lorain, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton, with more calls getting scheduled all the time.
I’m listening to Ohio communities and working to get them what they need as we work on federal response packages. Last week, 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
On Wednesday, we 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.
Congress is already working on a third round of legislation to provide economic relief. I have three priorities in that package: First, to put money directly in people’s pockets – that means sending at least $2,000 directly to every single middle-class and low-income family. Second, to allow renters and homeowners to stay in their homes – in the short and long term. And third, to put workers first.
We cannot make the same mistakes Washington made in 2008 and 2009. We need to hold any companies receiving taxpayer dollars accountable – that means no stock buybacks, no sending jobs overseas, no outsourcing jobs to independent contractors, and no golden parachutes for executives. Companies that take taxpayer dollars need to use them to keep people in their jobs, not to pay executive bonuses.
Every day we wait to protect workers is another day of people worried about how they’re going to pay the mortgage or pay the rent if their employer shuts down, or take care of their kids with schools closed.
In a situation changing as quickly as this one, when people are scared and looking for leadership, Mitch McConnell and President Trump have failed – but our officials in Ohio have, by and large, done an excellent job.
I’ll continue to work with them, to make sure Ohio communities get the support they need as quickly as possible.
Democrat Sherrod Brown represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate.