Guaranteeing Justice and Protecting Health and Safety
As we continue to fight the COVID-19 Pandemic and unabashed racism against unarmed Black people, I write you to provide an update on my work to make progress on both fronts.
Last week, on Tuesday, June 23rd, I held my Voting Rights and Equal Justice Forum with constituents of Ohio’s Third Congressional District, including many of you. The event was open to all residents of the District and provided an opportunity to have an open, honest conversation on voting rights, the ongoing push to ensure justice for everyone, and to strengthen accountability for public servants sworn to protect and serve every member of our community. Joining me on the virtual forum were special guests Brandi Slaughter, Columbus NAACP Executive Committee member, and Kyle Strickland, a senior legal analyst at The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. To view an archived recording of my Voting Rights and Equal Justice Forum, please visit my YouTube.
Later in the week, on June 25th, I returned to Washington, D.C. to help pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, H.R. 7120 on a bipartisan basis. This comprehensive, first-of-its-kind bill seeks to improve police accountability, change the culture of law enforcement, and build trust among law enforcement, communities of color and the American people. I had the unbelievable honor to preside over consideration of the provisions in this piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. As I said on the House floor prior to the historic vote, “We breathe in honor of George Floyd,” and that “Today, we go from agony to action.” Watch my entire speech now.
However, we also must also get to the root of structural racism that has plagued our country for centuries, as I have called out in my resolution: H.Res. 990. Racism is a national crisis, and we must move forward toward a truth and reconciliation progress. Period.
Continuing my commitment to confront and combat COVID-19 head-on, I remain focused on putting the health and safety of workers, families and small businesses first. Right now, Ohio—along with more than 30 other States—are seeing a steady rise in the number of confirmed cases and deaths. Yet, the White House is pushing to have the Affordable Care Act overturned by the Supreme Court. If successful, I believe that this move will have a disastrous effect on our country’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 threat and, more importantly, unnecessarily put at risk the lives of far more Americans (like you, your family and friends). Not to mention, this would also eliminate healthcare coverage for 20 million newly insured Americans and jeopardize protections for pre-existing conditions.
Legislatively, I have cosponsored pieces of legislation to: (1) automatically extend unemployment insurance benefits and phase out benefits as state employment rates rebound; (2) provide a tax credit for small businesses to provide personal protective equipment (PPE); (3) allow Medicare loan forgiveness for hospital and healthcare providers; and (4) develop bilateral cooperation with Israel for the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. All total, I have introduced seven COVID-19-related measures, cosponsored 60 more, and signed on to nearly 150 congressional letters.
Our community and entire country are facing two pandemics at the same time. We must stand together if we are to be ultimately successful in defeating racism and COVID-19. Stay healthy. Stay safe. We remain #InThisTogetherOhio.