Senate Republican COVID package falls short
Posted July 28, 2020 in Press Releases
Ohio Senators Portman and Brown must fight for a better aid package that meets Ohio’s needs
As the COVID-19 virus surges and unemployment claims remain high, Republicans in the U.S. Senate put forward a COVID-19 aid package that falls far short of what Ohioans need to get through the pandemic and recession it has caused. Policy Matters Senior Project Director Wendy Patton issued the following statement:
“The Senate has a responsibility to help people get through this pandemic. The GOP package doesn’t do what’s needed to make sure that children, families and communities are safe and can rebound quickly and equitably. The challenges people face are too big for individuals, states, or charity alone to overcome. We need the public sector to act, responsibly and swiftly.
“This proposal cuts the $600 weekly supplement that provided critical support to more than half a million jobless Ohioans and boosted purchasing power in an economy that was spiraling downward. Congress must extend this Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, for as long as unemployment remains high, at the $600 level.
“The GOP proposal fails to address the growing problem of hunger and food insecurity. Increased SNAP benefits during the last recession helped struggling families; lawmakers need to increase the maximum SNAP benefit by 15% now to help people put food on the table.
“The package includes some support for childcare providers, but it doesn’t do enough. The final package must include at least $50 billion to help parents get back to work, help providers stay open, and keep children and staff safe.
“The GOP package fails to provide any new aid for Ohio’s Medicaid program, which is growing to meet people’s increased needs as people lose jobs, income and health coverage. Lawmakers must increase the federal share of Medicaid by 14 percentage points until unemployment returns to pre-recession levels.
“The Senate bill provides no new state and local government aid to help communities provide basic services, like clean water, fire protection and emergency services. Over the next three years, states and communities will need at least $555 billion in federal support to maintain basic public services and prevent further job loss.
“The GOP federal relief package is unacceptable,” Patton said. “We call on Senators Brown and Portman to work with their colleagues on a bipartisan package that gets Ohioans through the pandemic and recession.