Coronavirus Resource Page
** THIS PAGE WAS MOST RECENTLY UPDATED ON JUNE 15, 2021 **
The State of Ohio is distributing safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines statewide to those who choose to be vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine development process included steps comparable with those used to develop previous vaccines, such as the flu or measles vaccine. Immediately after the first COVID-19 vaccine obtained emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ohio began strategically and thoughtfully distributing the vaccine to Ohioans most at risk, and developed a phased approach to distribution. More information can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination-program.
In addition, Governor DeWine is encouraging parents to get children between the ages of 12 and 18 vaccinated against COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health has created a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to answer common questions from parents, guardians, and youth about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, parental consent, and where to get a vaccine.
Update: Columbus City Schools has partnered with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Columbus Public Health to offer more vaccine clinics. The COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine is FREE to any eligible recipient, including students ages 12 and older. Vaccines are also available to family members and the general public. Will provide free vaccine to family members and the general public. Students enrolled in CCS summer programs and with proper parent consent will be given transportation during the school day to a nearby clinic. Parents would not be required to attend.
All clinics operate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- Columbus Africentric Early College High School – Thursday, June 17th, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm
- Linden-McKinley STEM Academy – Thursday, June 17th, from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
- South High School – Friday, June 18th, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm
- West High School – Friday, June 18th, from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Ohioans wishing to participate in the Vax-A-Million drawings will have to opt-in by registering on the OhioVaxaMillion.com website.
- Previously, Ohioans would have been automatically entered into the drawings based upon voter registration records.
- There will be 5 weekly drawings of $1 million for adults and 4-year college scholarships at state universities for adolescents.
- Ohioans can also enter the lottery system by calling the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
STATE OF OHIO CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
The Ohio Department of Health has a dedicated website on the coronavirus, including latest developments, educational information, and additional resources. Visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov now.
NEW HEALTH ORDER:
On May 17, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced a new health order to no longer require individuals who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 to wear masks in order to conform to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. However, the new order states that those who have not been vaccinated should still wear a mask and socially distance. The order also reflects the CDC’s guidance that masks should be worn in healthcare settings and when using public transportation, including airplanes. Businesses are allowed to enforce the wearing of masks on their premises for both employees and customers if they choose. Finally, teachers and students will be required to wear masks in the classroom. On June 2nd, Governor DeWine rescinded all of the state’s COVID-19 related health orders.
CITY OF COLUMBUS COMMUNITY RESOURCES
The City of Columbus has compiled a list of resources for residents affected by COVID-19 as well as information on how residents can help and support their fellow neighbors. Visit www.columbus.gov/covid19resources to see the full list.
On May 5, 2021, Columbus City Schools Board of Education meeting, Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon announced plans for the 2021-2022 school year that includes students returning to the classroom five days a week for in-person instruction. Current plans call for the three W’s to be in place for all students. They include:
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
- Watch your distance
The Leadership team also shared that the District’s Digital Academy will change for the upcoming school year. Called BlendED, this is a school without walls for students Pre-K through Grade 12.
BlendED will require in-person testing for students, orientation, help sessions, and extended learning opportunities. Open enrollment for BlendED is May 17 - 28, 2021.
- Maximum enrollment of 2,000 students.
- Students will enroll for the school year, meaning this is a year commitment
- CCS will follow all current district protocols for Open Enrollment.
- Students currently not enrolled in their school of address, who chose to participate in BlendED, will relinquish their seat at the current school of enrollment. After the 2021-2022 school year commitment, if a family chooses to withdraw their student from BlendED, that student will be scheduled to attend at the school of address or at the nearest school with availability to meet their needs as determined by CCS or must participate in the lottery process for an opportunity to be offered a lottery placement.
- Students who accept a lottery offer after enrolling in BlendED, will relinquish their seat at BlendED and will be enrolled into the school of lottery acceptance
- Students will participate with their home school for sporting events and graduation.
- New students who enroll into CCS between May 29th and August 20th can select to be enrolled into BlendED at their enrollment appointment, provided there are seats still available.
BROADBAND BENEFIT PROGRAM:
Families of students enrolled in Columbus City Schools can apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Households can receive up to $50 per month for internet service and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. To apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, please go to www.getemergencybroadband.org. In the application process, families should indicate that their child attends Columbus City Schools under the Community Eligibility Program. OR Families can contact the RemotEDX Connectivity Champions through the Ohio Department of Education to be guided through the application process. RemotEDX Connectivity Champions can be reached at (844) 512-6446, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ohio-k12.help/remotedx.
FREE MATH TUTORING:
Columbus City Schools has partnered with the YMCA of Central Ohio to offer free math tutoring this summer for elementary-age CCS students. The program runs from June 8th through August 20th. YMCA’s Stable Families Program will offer students a variety of options: virtual, in-person, one-on-one, or small group. Parents are required to be present for an in-person session. Interpreters and transportation may be provided. Register online at https://ymcacolumbus.org/stable-family-form or call (614) 636-3208.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES / FOOD DISTRIBUTION SITES:
Families should log on to www.columbus.gov/schoolsout for a list of programs, resources, and activities. Additionally, regardless of income, families can also text “FOOD” to 877-877 to find a nearby free food distribution site.
COTA has reinstated fares for customers, after suspending fares temporarily at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please visit COTA.com for more information.
SENIOR TRANSPORTATION (TO/FROM) VACCINATION SITE
Senior Options is providing free escort transportation to and from vaccination sites by appointment only. Call (614) 525-6200 to register and for more information.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was enacted by Congress to provide forgivable loans to America’s small businesses to fund up to 24 weeks of payroll costs, rent, mortgages, and utility payments during the COVID-19 emergency. To date, more than $788 billion in PPP funding has been distributed to American small businesses and nonprofits across the country.
More information and details, including a program overview, information for borrowers and lenders, and an application sheet can be found at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses. Additionally, for those small businesses that have successfully applied for and received PPP loans, more information regarding the forgiveness process and application can be found at https://www.sba.gov/document/sba-form-paycheck-protection-program-loan-forgiveness-application.
NEW SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CUSTOMER HOTLINE
SBA has launched a new customer hotline. To reach them, please call: 877-641-8202.
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized one-time economic impact payments (EIP) to eligible taxpayers. The EIP is equal to $1,200 per qualifying adult and $500 per qualifying child for households up to a certain income threshold. The majority of taxpayers received the EIP automatically through (1) direct deposit (2) check or (3) pre-paid debit card, but some may have to claim the EIP on future tax filings.
As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, Congress authorized a second round of EIP to eligible taxpayers. The second round of EIP is equal to $600 per qualifying adult, or $1,200 for married couples filing jointly, and up to $600 per qualifying child.
Under the American Rescue Plan, single filers with incomes up to $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000 will receive payments of $1,400 (including dependents). Those making more than the aforementioned income thresholds will receive lesser amounts, and single filers making more than $80,000 (head of household filers making $120,000, and joint filers making $160,000) will be phased out.
If you have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you may have already received the check - if not, you should very shortly. If you receive your tax refunds via check or prepaid debit card, those should arrive in the mail over the next few weeks. For more information, and to check the status of your EIPs, please visit: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
NOTE: EIPs are an advancement on an individual/joint filers 2020 tax return. Additionally, if a taxpayer has not received either EIP but nonetheless qualify, they can claim it on their 2020 tax return.
ASSISTANCE WITH UTILITIES AND DISCONNECT NOTICES:
Since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many utilities have announced they are temporarily suspend service termination. However, various utilities are now resuming sending out disconnect notices. Concerned constituents should first contact their service provider to inquire about any available assistance programs and/or payment plans. In addition, the City of Columbus has published a list of organizations that may be able to assist constituents with paying their utility bills, which can be accessed here: https://www.columbus.gov/utilities/customers/bill-payment/Utility-Financial-Assistance-for-Columbus-Residents/.
- DirectTV – (800) 531-5000
- Dish Network – (800) 333-3474
- Spectrum – (833) 267-6094
- Wow – (866) 496-9669
- AT&T – (800) 331-0500
- Columbia Gas of Ohio – (800) 344-4077
- First Energy/Ohio Edison – (800) 633-4766
- American Electric Power – (800) 672-2231
- Nationwide Energy Partners (614) 918-2031
- City of Columbus – Department of Public Utilities – (614) 645-8276
Additional resources for possible rental and/or utility assistance, include:
- Coalition on Homelessness and Housing – (614) 2801984
- The Ohio Housing Finance Agency – (614) 4667970
- Columbus Urban league – (614) 257-6300
- IMPACT Community Action – (614) 252-2799
- HANDS On Central Ohio – (614) 221-6766
- A listing of additional rental/housing resources can be found at https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/columbus_rent_assistance.html.
*On November 17, 2020, the City of Columbus has announced additional funds from the federal CARES Act are available for utility assistance grants. These funds will be distributed through the City to help families who have been unable to pay for utilities such as water service because of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. This program includes one-time payment assistance of up to $750 towards an eligible Columbus water/sewer/stormwater bill and/or up to $500 toward an eligible Columbus power bill.
To be eligible for the assistance, applicants must: 1) have an active City of Columbus water, sewer or power account for their residence in their name (or spouse's name); 2) be at least 90 days delinquent in payment; and 3) meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Household income less than 150 percent of the current U.S. Bureau of Census federal poverty level;
- Applicant must be currently enrolled in a qualifying low income program; or
- Provide proof of job loss or reduction in income due to the pandemic.
For more information, please the City of Columbus website.
UTILITY PAYMENT PLAN EXTENSIONS
The City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities can help constituents set up a payment plan for their utilities bill. Individuals may request an extension of one to three months on current charges. If approved, the first payment would be due within 30 days, with each following payment due 30 days thereafter-for up to three months-to bring charges current. Payment coupons and a confirmation email will be sent with payment arrangement details. Please note that any new bills that emerge after the payment plan is granted are due by their own established due dates and must be paid on time to keep the payment arrangement in place. Residential water/sewer bills are issue every three months. For additional details about these programs or to apply online, please visit: www.columbus.gov/payassist
Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at www.unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888-642-8203, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136 provides individuals who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 enhanced unemployment compensation benefits:
- Expands unemployment benefits to cover the self-employed and gig workers.
- Extends unemployment benefits from 26 to 39 weeks.
- Provides additional federal weekly benefits
The American Rescue Plan, P.L. 117-2, signed into law by President Biden on March 11,2021, extends expanded unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021, and increases the maximum duration of benefits from 50 to 79 weeks. These benefits include a $300 weekly federal supplementary benefit for most workers. The law also makes the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 tax free for most low- and middle-income workers.
UPDATE: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced the State of Ohio’s plan to opt-out of the additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits starting June 26.
FORECLOSURE AND EVICTION MORATORIUM
On March 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an extension of the federal moratorium on evictions through June 30, 2021. Eligible renters at risk of eviction should download and fill out this form and give to their landlord. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HHS) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) extended their foreclosure and eviction moratoriums for all federally-insured single-family homes through June 30, 2021.
HELPFUL FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is providing recommendations for individuals to mitigate and contain the damage of any financial fallout due to the coronavirus.
In responding to the spread of COVID-19, I promise to work with my congressional colleagues to address this growing public health crisis in a smart, strategic, and serious manner.
The first step Congress must take is to ensure the government has the resources needed to combat this deadly virus and keep Central Ohioans safe. To that effect, you will be interested to know that I voted in support of the Emergency Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6074. This piece of legislation provides over $3 billion for research and development of a vaccine and innovative treatment options; $2.2 billion in funding for prevention, preparedness, and response; and $1 billion for the purchase of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The bill was signed into law by the president on March 6, 2020. Read the full text of the law here.
On March 11th, I joined fellow Financial Services Subcommittee and Task Force Chairs to urge the Trump Administration, regulators, financial services organizations, and credit reporting agencies to protect American consumers and hardworking families from the potential negative impact of the coronavirus.
I convened a March 13th Coronavirus Pandemic Conference Call with community leaders and stakeholders on efforts at the federal, state, and local levels of government to combat the virus. Nearly 20 agencies, corporations, and nonprofits participated in the call, sharing updates on their ongoing efforts to respond to the personal, professional, and financial impacts of the Coronavirus.
The U.S. House of Representatives took an important second step in combatting the Coronavirus by passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201. I supported the piece of legislation because our nation is facing a global pandemic that will affect everyone in some way. H.R. 6201 includes free coronavirus testing, enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, expands paid leave and family and emergency leave, strengthens food security initiatives, and invests in Medicaid. The bill was passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law on March 18, 2020. Read the full text of the law here
Congress took a crucial third step by passing the historic $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748. The bill is the largest financial assistance package in U.S. history and puts American workers, families, and small businesses first. As a cosponsor of the measure, I returned to Washington to help pass the landmark piece of legislation, and I also addressed the nation from the House floor prior to the vote. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act authorizes direct payments for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet during this public health crisis, further expands unemployment insurance benefits, provides $350 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and first-time funding for nonprofits, assists student borrowers, invests in our healthcare professionals and first responders and helps keep them safe, and institutes strong accountability measures on corporations receiving taxpayer dollars. Read the full text of the law here, and for more information please see the Families First COVID-19 Constituent Service Resources Toolkit.
The same day Congress passed and the president signed into law the CARES Act, I held my Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall to update constituents on the federal response to COVID-19, as well as answer questions and provide helpful resources. The event was open to all residents of Ohio's Third Congressional District and was streamed live on Facebook. An archived recording can be viewed on my YouTube page.
On March 31, 2020, the Trump Administration approved the State of Ohio's request for a "Major Disaster Declaration," following a united effort by the entire Ohio Congressional Delegation and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The declaration clears the way for more federal assistance and support on the ground to help combat COVID-19.
Following the overwhelming response and participation for the March 13th Coronavirus Community Stakeholders Conference Call and my March 27th Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall, I organized a series of COVID-19 response calls with municipality mayors on April 6th, as well as a daylong series of calls with healthcare leaders, communities of faith, small businesses, housing organizations, and nonprofits.
On April 17, 2020, I joined forces with Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) to urge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell "ban the box" that disqualifies small business owners with even minor offenses from critical relief. As it becomes increasingly clear that the Coronavirus Pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, these exemptions only penalize the same communities that have been most prejudiced by a broken criminal justice system. Under the PPP, small business owners are automatically deemed ineligible for a loan if they, within the past five years, have: been convicted, pleaded guilty, pleaded nolo contendere, been placed on pretrial diversion, or been placed on any form of parole or probation.
Five days later, nearly four weeks after the CARES Act became law, I sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza to demand their federal agencies work expeditiously to ensure a more even, consumer-friendly roll out of the critical programs and funding streams that provide financial assistance to American workers, families, and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
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.
In advance of Governor DeWine transitioning Ohioans back to work, I sent a letter to him outlining four issues of concern for many of my constituents. I want to make sure there are several guardrails in place to protect the lives and livelihood of ALL Ohioans prior to him lifting the stay-at-home order.
As Congress debates next steps to respond to COVID-19, and a potential fifth economic rescue package I introduced the Making Opportunities a Reality for Entrepreneurs (MORE) PPP Act. The bill will ensure that our nation's smallest small businesses, including minority-owned, independent contractors, and 1099 workers, have fairer access to participate in the PPP. In addition, I authored the Help Charities Protect Communities Act, a piece of legislation that would give large nonprofits like the American Heart Association, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., YMCA, and a whole host of nonprofits access to federal support so that they can continue their important work during this public health crisis. The bill is backed by more than two dozen national nonprofits (and counting). Another bill I authored, the Fair Chance for Small Business Relief Act, would fix a flaw in the SBA PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance Program that disqualified small business owners with even minor offense from critical relief.
House Democrats took another bold step in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, passing The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, on May 15th. This big, bold, and ‘For the People’ piece of legislation guarantees hazard pay for front line workers that they need and deserve; makes significant investments in state and local governments, affordable housing, COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and fair elections; and provides direct economic impact payments for families, and other important provisions I have long championed like putting a moratorium on consumer debt collection, forgivable loans for more nonprofits, banning the box on small business loans, and ensuring that the smallest businesses can get a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Facing a growing economic and public health crisis that is having a disparate impact on everyone, including communities of color, my Congressional colleagues and I introduced the Jobs and Neighborhoods Investment Act, H.R. 7709. This bold piece of legislation would make a new $17.9 billion investment in low-income and minority communities that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, I am continuing to fight for ALL consumers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, recently authoring the Consumer Relief During COVID-19 Act, H.R. 7796. If enacted, this measure will strictly prohibit creditors from taking certain actions to collect debt from a consumer during and 120 days after a national disaster or emergency like the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, I spoke at the Franklin County Commissioners General Session in support of Resolution No. 0517-20, which authorizes $2,000,000 in CARES Act funding for emergency grants to support minority-owned businesses.
Days later, back in the nation’s capital, I voted in support of an amendment preventing the U.S. Department of Justice from spending any federal funds for the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act—because the last thing we should be doing during a pandemic is taking away healthcare and protections from Americans with pre-existing conditions. Similarly, I stood up to President Trump and his Administration’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes that would jeopardize the retirement and financial future of today’s Social Security recipients and future generations.
Recently, I joined forces with fellow Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to protect borrowers of color from discriminatory lending practices by introducing the Examining Education Redlining in Lending Act, a bill to guarantee that a consumer is not charged more on a loan simply because they went to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) or any other institution of higher education.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic drags on, and with the 2020 Presidential Election on the horizon, I am continuing my work to ensure that voters can exercise their constitutional right safely and securely. To that effect, I recently joined the entire Ohio Congressional Democratic Delegation in sending a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose urging him to immediately take action to protect the health and safety of Ohio voters and poll workers in this upcoming election. Specifically, we are calling on LaRose to immediately implement the recommendations made by a coalition of 200 doctors, faith leaders, and leading voting rights advocates, including requiring social distancing, wearing facemasks, providing the proper PPE to poll workers, and more. Previously, we sent another letter to LaRose urging him to work with the skilled and dedicated tradespeople of Ohio to locate additional drop boxes across all 88 counties. The men and women of Ohio State Sheet Metal Workers Locals #24 and #33, as well as the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, have said they stand ready to build additional secure ballot boxes, at no cost to the state. Further, we penned a letter, on September 18th, to LaRose urging him to comply with a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas’ ruling directing him to allow multiple secure ballot drop boxes, as well as a letter, on September 9th, demanding LaRose use his existing authority to prepay postage for absentee ballots and ballot applications.
With CARES Act funds continuing to be appropriated to congressional districts across the country, I led a bipartisan letter to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to enhance the CARES Congressional Oversight Commission by (1) expanding the total number of members on the Commission; (2) increasing racial and gender diversity on the Commission; (3) improving oversight and reporting on the delivery of federal relief funds to diverse communities; and (4) making sure that the panel has sufficient resources and staffing to carry out its congressional mandate. My letter comes at a time when Black Americans account for 20 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 percent of deaths—yet make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population—and on the heels of a June 2020 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found the largest drop in minority business owners on record. Between February and April of this year, Black-owned businesses experienced a 41 percent closure rate, while Latinx- and Asian-owned businesses fell by 32 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
September marks 110+ days since House Democrats passed of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, and ongoing Senate Republican inaction. For the last four months, President Trump and Senate Republicans have been more focused on delaying, distracting, and denying. Realizing they are responsible for the growing public health and economic crisis facing our nation, Republican leadership unveiled their ‘grand plan’ that represents little more than the same. That’s because their deceptively-titled bill fails to provide direct economic impact payments to individuals and families; cuts emergency unemployment benefits by 50 percent; conditions desperately needed aid for schools at the expense of student, teacher, and faculty safety; and fails to provide any assistance to the tens of millions of Americans struggling to buy groceries and keep a roof over their heads. On September 18th, the Senate Republican proposal failed to advance.
During the month of September, I was also proud to announce that another $7 million in new COVID-19 funds were headed back to Ohio’s Third Congressional District to help make sure more Central Ohio families can live in safe, secure, and stable housing and that scientists and medical experts can continue their lifesaving work to better respond, diagnosis, treat, prevent and ultimately defeat COVID-19.
On October 1st–139 days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800—House Democrats passed an updated version of The Heroes Act, H.R. 925. This big and bold piece of legislation will once again provide another round of direct economic impact payment to Americans, extend emergency unemployment benefits, guarantee hazard pay for frontline workers, and make significant investments in state and local governments, food and rental assistance, COVID-19 testing, and contact training.
Also, during the month of October, the National Institutes for Health (NIH) awarded $5 million to The Ohio State University to improve COVID-19 testing disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations. Funding was made available through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, P.L. 116-139, a law Beatty helped pass in the U.S. House of Representatives. She also cosponsored the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Safe Schools Act, H.R. 8664, a piece of legislation to provide $17 billion to school districts across the country to pay for PPE, cleaning supplies, technical training, and additional staff support needed to keep students, educators, and communities safe. Over in the Senate, Republicans are continuing to put politics ahead of the interests of the American people by voting on an incredibly inadequate COVID-19 response bill that represented nothing more than cheap political theater. The bill Senate Republicans voted on didn't provide direct economic impact payments, cut emergency unemployment benefits by 50 percent, conditioned desperately needed aid for schools at the expense of student, teacher, and faculty safety, and failed to provide any assistance to the tens of millions of Americans struggling to buy groceries and keep a roof over their heads. Moreover, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted in the run up to the vote that Senate Republicans had no interest in passing a comprehensive COVID-19 response package until after the 2020 Election, causing workers, families and small businesses further hardship when they can least afford it.
Following the 2020 Election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in November, and the ever-growing pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, I decided to run for the chair of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The road ahead will not be without its challenges, but I am confident that together we can defeat COVID-19, ensure that better days lie ahead, and provide access to affordable healthcare, housing, education, and jobs no matter the zip code.
On December 3, 2020, I was elected Chair of the CBC and immediately began working with my Congressional colleagues and staff to craft another COVID relief package. We worked late nights and many early mornings. More than 200 days after the passage of The Heroes Act, Senate Republicans finally relented, and Congress was able to pass a bipartisan agreement to fund the government and provide support and assistance to American workers, families, and small businesses. The bill was not as comprehensive as I had hoped, but the measure did extend emergency unemployment, provide another round of stimulus checks, increase funding for struggling small businesses, and much more. That is why I was proud to cosponsor the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help Act of 2020, a proposal that would have increased the second round of economic impact payments from $600 to $2,000.
Sadly, as the Biden-Harris Administration takes office, COVID-19 is continuing to rage on, impacting the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans. Do to the previous administration’s abysmal failure to tackle the virus, tens of millions of Americans are on the verge of being evicted. So, I joined Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to guarantee that no one loses their home during the pandemic. House Democrats took another important step in getting additional resources to the American people by passing H.Con.Res. 11, a piece of legislation that sets in motion the process of budget reconciliation to help expediate consideration of another comprehensive COVID-19 relief package. Prior to the vote, I addressed the nation from the House floor, calling on my colleagues to join together to ‘meet the moment.’
It is also imperative that we ‘meet the moment’ and work together to address COVID-19’s racial disparities and inequities. To that effect, as Chair of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus, I was proud to lead a special hearing on February 24th to unveil the ‘CBC 100 Day Plan of Action. We are in a historic time, and the Congressional Black Caucus—through Our Power, Our Message—is uniquely poised to advance an agenda for Black people and the communities we serve. For complete information on the CBC’s Domestic Policy Leadership Team and Policy Councils, please click here.
Delivering on the promise to get real relief to the American people in the first weeks of the Biden-Harris Administration. Congressional Democrats successfully passed the American Rescue Plan, H.R. 1319, an expanded, emergency financial relief and investment package to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The American Rescue Plan is all about meeting the magnitude of the moment for my constituents. Lives are on the line, and this historic package will put dollars into families’ pockets, get people back to work, return children and teachers safely to the classroom, improve vaccine distribution, and strengthen our economy so that we can continue to build back better—all while crushing the virus. For more information on the American Rescue Plan, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit my special webpage.
With the American Rescue Plan putting money in pockets, getting people back to work, returning children safely to school, and delivering shots in arms throughout April, I was proud to kickoff the month by announcing that community health centers in Ohio’s Third Congressional District were awarded $19+ million through the landmark law to combat COVID-19 and another $8.6+ million for John Glenn Columbus International Airport through the CARES Act. I was equally excited to work directly with the White House to launch a new proposal to expand COVID-19 vaccine access and better serve communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other at-risk Americans. This was also an important topic of conversation, among a whole host of issues, during the CBC’s first Oval Office meeting with President Biden and Vice President Harris. The month ended with the White House celebrating 200 million COVID-19 vaccines administered to Americans.
To encourage even more constituents and people to roll up their sleeves, I spearheaded the national “Get Out the Vaccine” (GOTV) initiative. The weeklong (May 1 – May 8) public awareness, education, and outreach program occurred in congressional districts across the country. Bringing the push back home, I hosted an official GOTV press conference, sponsored drive-up vax-up sites at the Columbus Urban League and New Salem Baptist Church, traveled around Central Ohio with the message, “don’t wait, vaccinate,” and held a special GOTV Telephone Town Hall. To watch an archived recording of my GOTV Telephone Town Hall, please visit my Facebook or YouTube page.
With the May 17th tax filing deadline approaching, I want to make sure eligible families in Ohio’s Third Congressional District get the accurate amount in new advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments. Made available through the American Rescue Plan, the expanded CTC payments could provide monthly payments of up to $300 per child beginning as soon as July. However, eligible families must file a 2020 tax return—even if they do not have earnings to report or do not normally file. According to data compiled by Co-Equal, a stunning 91.3 percent of children in the district will benefit economically from the expanded and improved CTC. Moreover, 53,000 households could see an average total benefit of $3,300. Eligible taxpayers and families can prepare and file their taxes for free at IRS-operated Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. To find the nearest location, visit https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/. Also this month, as a result of the American Rescue Plan, I was proud to announce $188,346,384 in emergency COVID-19 funding for Central Ohio colleges, universities, and students, as well as an additional $442+ million for the City of Columbus and Franklin County governments.
COVID-19 CENTRAL OHIO GRANTS
To date, Ohio's Third Congressional District has received over $1.54 billion in federal funds to confront the coronavirus. Funding is made available through the Emergency Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, H.R. 266, three pieces of legislation I supported in Congress.
- $419,000,000 for Columbus City Schools to safely reopen schools and mitigate COVID-19.*
- $342,690,569 in direct COVID-19 economic relief for the City of Columbus.*
- $331,636,362 in direct COVID-19 economic relief for Franklin County.*
- $188,346,384 in emergency funding for colleges, universities, and students in Ohio’s Third Congressional District to help weather the financial fallout from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- $65,803,589 from the Department of Education (DoE) to K-12 and higher education places of learning to support area impacted by the disruption and closure of schools to COVID-19.
- $53,774,170 awarded to COTA to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
- $42,535,839 for Central Ohio airports (including John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport, The Ohio State University Airport, and Bolton Field Airport) to assist in the prevention of, preparation for, and response to COVID-19.
- $35,038,377 from HHS in health provider relief funds to various healthcare providers across Ohio's Third Congressional District
- $23,750,000 to Battelle Memorial Institute to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing.
- $22,243,830 to support community health centers across Ohio’s Third Congressional District (Heart of Ohio Family Health Center, Lower Lights Christian Health Center, Inc., Southeast Community Mental Health Center, Inc., Whitehall Family Health Center, and The Ohio State University.)
- $14,844,532 in HUD funds for the City of Columbus to expand permanent and temporary housing for low- to moderate-income persons and people who are homeless.
- $5,951,788 in HHS funds for Ohio Hospital Association's Research and Educational Foundation to improve COVID-19-related hospital preparedness.
- $5,000,000 in NIH funds for The Ohio State University, through the RADx-UP program, to support projects designed to rapidly implement COVID-19 testing strategies in populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
- $4,968,840 to the City of Columbus, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
- $3,596,385 in HUD funds for Franklin County to expand permanent and temporary housing for low- to moderate-income persons and people who are homeless.
- $2,347,414 to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) for clean, safe, and affordable housing initiatives during Coronavirus Pandemic.
- $1,955,322 to Franklin County, from HUD, in CDBG funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
- $1,700,000 in HHS funds for the Ohio Department of Aging to support older adults and people with disabilities in the community during the COVID-19 emergency.
- $504,244 from the National Science Foundation to The Ohio State University to conduct scientific and medical research into the public health crisis.
- $400,000 for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to assist the region with recovery efforts from the pandemic and help build resiliency from future economic disruptions.
* Includes estimated federal funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan
VISITING THE DISTRICT AND D.C. OFFICES
Based upon advice from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Sergeant at Arms and the Governor of Ohio regarding COVID-19, District and D.C. Offices are closed to the public until further notice to better protect constituents, staff, and visitors. However, staff is continuing to serve the constituents of Ohio’s Third Congressional District. So, please feel free to contact the offices should you require assistance.