WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference as he continues pushing Congress to do the right thing and pass badly-needed COVID relief for Ohioans before the end of the year and ahead of important deadlines, including the expiration of the eviction moratorium and enhanced unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, Congress hasn’t passed a stimulus package since July, leaving Ohio families, businesses, local governments and social service agencies without federal assistance for months in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
“The American people sent a clear message in this election: they are tired of getting the message from their government that ‘you’re on your own,’” said Brown. “They want us to get to work to empower people with a real plan to fight this virus, and get people back to work and back to school and back to their lives. We have the resources to do it – we just need Mitch McConnell to come to the table. The American people should not have to fend for themselves in a once-in-a-generation crisis.”
Brown was joined on today’s call by Liz Valenti, a Dayton-area restaurant owner who will discuss the need for COVID relief for Ohio businesses like hers and for her employees, and Graham Bowman from the Ohio Poverty Law Center to discuss the importance of extending the eviction moratorium and providing rental assistance to Ohioans.
“The urgent need for additional COVID relief cannot be overstated. Beginning in March 2020, Wheat Penny Oven and Bar has made a series of business decisions and purchases regarding staff and customer safety. We switched to curbside carryout and increased our outdoor dining capacity, all in an ever-changing business and health climate. It has required a substantial financial output. With a PPP loan, we were able to work hard, retain staff and keep our doors open. But now with the surge in coronavirus cases, the reality that lies ahead for independent restaurants like ours is a very tough one without additional COVID relief,” said Valenti.
“Broadly available rental assistance from Congress is needed to avert a crisis and ensure that both renters and owners make it through these final months of the pandemic,” said Bowman.
Critical COVID relief will expire on the following dates without action from Congress:
· Dec. 11: Government funding deadline
· Dec. 26: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program expire
· Dec. 31: CDC eviction moratorium expires
· Dec. 31: Student loan forbearance expires
· Dec. 31: Expanded paid family leave benefits expire
Brown has led calls for Congress to pass critical COVID relief and continues working to get Ohioans the help they need.
Brown took to the Senate floor recently to ask for unanimous consent on his push for emergency rental assistance to help the millions of people struggling to pay their rent and at risk of losing their homes. The effort was blocked by Senate Republicans.
This week, Brown joined a letter to Senate leaders urging them to extend two critical unemployment programs for Americans affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis -- the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. Both are set to expire on December 26th, just one day after Christmas.
Also this week, Brown hosted a conference call with Ohio restaurant owners to discuss the need for small business relief, as the economy continues to suffer and the winter months make it harder for businesses like restaurants to keep workers employed.