WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) voted to pass the combined omnibus and COVID-19 relief bill that will send desperately needed assistance to Ohioans and small businesses, as well as our health care system in order to support vaccine procurement and distribution.

For months, Brown has fought to put assistance directly in the pockets of workers, extend unemployment insurance, prevent evictions, provide rental assistance to help keep families stably housed, secure necessary resources our frontline health care workers need, and more.

Securing this assistance for Ohioans is crucial, but it is not enough. Brown vowed to continue fighting for the additional relief needed to help families and workers struggling as a result of the pandemic.

“For Ohio families, businesses, and communities, much-needed help is on the way. I am glad the Senate has finally come to a long-overdue compromise to provide urgent relief to Americans suffering because of this health crisis. This critical down payment will help small businesses keep employees on their payroll, put money directly in people’s pockets, help keep Ohioans stably housed with rental assistance, and fund a coordinated federal plan to get Americans vaccinated,” Brown said. “This is a step in the right direction, and additional investment will be needed to help Ohioans weather this storm. I look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration to defeat this virus and rebuild our economy.”

The CARES Act, passed in March, helped keep 12 million Americans out of poverty. This new legislation builds on the programs established by CARES Act and would:

·       Provide $25 billion in rental and utility assistance for renters.

·       Provide another round of direct payments for people struggling – up to $600 per person with another $600 for children.

·       Provide 11 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, including for self-employed and independent contractors, and an additional $300 unemployment benefit.

·       Provide nearly $70 billion in support for vaccines, testing and contact tracing and our health care safety net, including roughly $32 billion for vaccine procurement and distribution, more than $22 billion for testing, tracing, and COVID-19 mitigation, $4.5 billion in mental health and substance use disorder funding, and $9 billion to support our health care providers.

·       Provide $325 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans. The bill will also ensure that expenses covered by PPP loans are deductible.

·       Prevent landlords from evicting renters during the pandemic – the provision extends the current CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2020.

·       Provide $82 billion in emergency education funding, including $54.3 billion for K-12 education, $22.7 billion for higher education and their students (including $1.7 billion for HBCUs and MSIs), and $4 billion for the governors to use for education needs across states.

·       Provide $10 billion in childcare assistance to families and childcare providers to help stabilize the sector and $250 million for Head Start providers.

·       Extend the deadline for states and municipalities to use federal funding from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.

·       Provide $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

·       Provide a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits for 6 months (through June 30, 2021) for all SNAP participants.

·       Provide $400 million for food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) with up to 20 percent for distribution of commodities.

·       Include improvements to Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) that will expand access to food benefits for children at schools and in childcare settings.

·       Support food purchases, donations, and worker protection by including no less than $1.5 billion to fund purchases of food for distribution to those in need, and to provide worker protection measures and retooling support for farmers, farmers markets, and food processors to respond to COVID-19. It also includes a mandatory review of USDA food purchasing and distribution.

·       Support local agriculture and farmers markets by including $100 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), and provide additional flexibilities to help producers, local food businesses, and farmers markets respond to supply chain issues and adapt to local market conditions due to COVID-19.

·       Provide $14 billion for public transportation relief, which includes $210 million for communities in Ohio to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent cuts to transit services that essential workers and the general public rely on. As Ranking Member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Brown worked with the Senate Appropriations Committee and Leadership to secure the following transit relief funding:

o   Akron, OH and surrounding communities will receive $22,152,862

o   Canton, OH and surrounding communities will receive $4,704,020

o   Cincinnati, OH and surrounding communities will receive $41,720,607

o   Cleveland, OH and surrounding communities will receive $74,094,895

o   Columbus, OH and surrounding communities will receive $64,808,965

o   Toledo, OH and surrounding communities will receive $3,035,983

·       Provide $2 billion to support the motorcoach and bus industry, including intercity bus services, charter bus operators and private school bus service providers, based on the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act of 2020. Brown worked to ensure that the relief funding is targeted to preserving jobs and returning bus drivers to work.

 

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