Continuing to Put Ohio’s Third Congressional District First In Response to the Coronavirus
I returned to Washington, D.C. early Wednesday morning (April 22nd) to prepare for Congress’ latest coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency response package, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, H.R. 266. Most notably, I took a lead role in advocating for allocating tens of billions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for community development financial institutions and other non-traditional lenders like non-federally insured credit unions that have historically served communities of color as well as rural and urban areas.
The following day, I joined an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of my colleagues in passing the $484 billion piece of legislation that provides additional funding to support more individuals and small businesses impacted by the virus.
Since the very beginning of this public health crisis, I have repeatedly called for expanded COVID-19 testing and to get funding into the hands of more small and minority-owned business owners, including 1099 workers at hair and nail salons, barber shops, and from gig to gig, just like larger organizations. This bill makes progress on both these fronts. However, Congress’ work is nowhere near finished. That was the very same message I delivered on the House floor during the debate of the bill. To see my full remarks, please visit my official YouTube page.
I am happy to report that H.R. 266 allocates $310 billion for PPP, including $60 billion for smaller financial institutions; $60 billion for Small Business Administration disaster emergency loans and grants; $75 billion for hospital relief; and $25 billion for expanded COVID-19 testing, including $825 million for community health centers. However, there are several outstanding issues the bill does not address like assistance to communities and municipalities facing ballooning budget shortfalls, dedicated funding for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, independent contractors, and the self-employed, hazard pay for workers deemed essential, and reform and enhancement of Medicaid’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage. I have little doubt that we will need to approve additional legislation to address these concerns.
Like me, I know you are ready to put this all behind us, and I have heard from so many of you about its effects on your lives and livelihood. Your stories are the driving force behind everything that my staff and I do—and it always has been.
Stay healthy and stay safe,