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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) took to the Senate floor as he continues to call for a quick Senate vote on increasing direct payments to Ohioans struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic from $600 to $2,000. The House passed legislation on Monday increasing the amount to $2,000, and the legislation has the support of Senators in both parties and President Trump.
Brown is calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to take quick action on the House-passed legislation.
“It’s pretty simple: the best way to help Ohio workers and families is to put more money in their pockets – not in the bank accounts of the largest corporations and the biggest banks, hoping it will trickle down. We need to invest directly in the people who make this country work,” said Brown.
Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery can be found below:
There is one simple question before the Senate this week: are we going to put more money in people’s pockets?
The American people made it clear in this election that they want a government that’s on their side.
This is our chance to deliver for them – to show the people we serve that we can make a real difference in their lives.
It’s pretty simple: the best way to help Ohio workers and families is to put more money in their pockets – not in the bank accounts of the largest corporations and the biggest banks, hoping it will trickle down.
We know it never does. CEOs just pay themselves instead.
We need to invest directly in the people who make this country work.
It helps people pay the bills, stay in their homes, and get through this downturn.
And it injects money into local economies that desperately need it – the more money people have, the more they can spend at small businesses that are hurting right now.
We know this works – it did in the spring. We came together, across the aisle, and we passed the CARES Act, with expanded UI and direct stimulus checks.
We kept 13 million people out of poverty, and we gave millions more peace of mind, with a bit of a cushion to weather this crisis.
The bill we passed last week was a good step in that direction – but we can make it even stronger.
Back in March, my original plan called for bigger checks for more people – $2,000 per person, adults and children. And we called for them to be sent automatically throughout the year, every quarter, as long as we remained in a public health emergency.
It’s clear now, that’s what we should have done – no one could predict how long this crisis would last, and today, we still aren’t certain when everyone will be vaccinated and when the economy will return to full strength.
We don’t have to sit idly by and wonder how bad it could get. We are the strongest, richest country on earth – we have the resources to do something about it.
We just need leadership willing to use every tool we have.
If they refuse to support this, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans will make it painfully clear for the American people whose side they’re on.
They had no problem pouring money into corporations’ coffers with their tax cut, and blowing up the deficit.
They were all too happy to let the government shovel loans to the biggest banks and companies.
But in the middle of the worst crisis of our lifetimes, faced with the chance to give money directly to ordinary Americans, they claim we can’t afford it.
That’s a lie.
Again, we are the richest country on earth.
I remember what the economist Bill Spriggs told the Banking and Housing Committee in September – we didn’t win WWII by worrying about whether or not we could afford it. We were in a global crisis and we marshalled all of our vast resources and talent to rise to meet it – and then we grew the economy from the middle class out, and we paid down the debt with rising wages.
And if we’ve learned anything from this crisis, it should be that we can do the same again.
Americans are tired of being told “we can’t.”
That’s the only answer Leader McConnell and Congressional Republicans ever have for most people’s problems – “we can’t help you, we can’t solve problems, you’re on your own.”
Let’s aim higher. Let’s deliver for the people we serve. Let’s put $2,000 in their pockets – money that will make such a difference for so many families.
It will help a mother worried about how she’ll pay back rent.
It will keep a laid-off restaurant worker from turning to a payday lender.
It will allow a father to buy a new computer, so his kids are better able to learn online.
There are millions of real people – people we swore an oath to serve – who would breathe a little easier this New Years, if we pass this.
So let’s be very clear about the decision before the Senate: are you going to give the people you serve $2,000, or are you going to stand in the way?
It’s that simple.
Let’s come together, let’s pass this, and let’s make a real difference in people’s lives.