Making a Difference: Congressional Update
The public health and economic crises facing our nation as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on, but the White House and Senate Republicans would like for you to think otherwise. However, the numbers speak for themselves: over 210,000 Americans dead, more than 7 million confirmed cases—including President Trump, several Republican Senators, and numerous senior Trump Administration officials—hundreds of thousands of hardworking individuals are losing their job every week, nearly 30 million households are in jeopardy of going hungry or of missing rent, and our economy is at a standstill.
We can defeat COVID-19, but that means putting American workers, families, and small businesses first. My Democratic colleagues and I are committed to doing just that, which is why we passed last week an updated version of The Heroes Act, H.R. 925. This big, bold, ‘For the People’ piece of legislation will provide another round of direct economic impact payments, 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 tracing. In addition, H.R. 925 contains several important provisions I have long championed like putting a moratorium on consumer debt collection, providing forgivable loans for more nonprofits, pairing minority-owned banks with financial agents to expand business and consumer products, and ensuring that the smallest businesses can get a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
As a reminder, the U.S. House of Representatives previously passed the original Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, on May 15th, but the piece of legislation has been languishing in Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (KY) self-described ‘legislative graveyard’ ever since.
Legislatively, you’ll also be interested to know that I have cosponsored: (1) Masks for Students Act, H.R. 8307, a bill to allow school districts to seek reimbursement for personal protective equipment (PPE) from FEMA; and (2) Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act, H.R. 8345, a piece of legislation to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) for airline industry workers.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic drags on, and with the 2020 Presidential Election less than four weeks away, I am continuing my work to ensure that voters can exercise their constitutional right safely and securely. To that effect, I joined the entire Ohio Congressional Democratic Delegation in sending a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose last week 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.
The week prior, 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.
That reminds me: early voting is now open in Ohio! If you live in Ohio’s Third Congressional District, you can cast your ballot in-person or drop off a completed absentee ballot at the Franklin County Board of Elections (1700 Morse Road, Columbus, OH 43229). For more information, visit my website.
Just as important as voting is the 2020 Census. Everyone counts, make sure you do, too. Fill out your Census form by October 31st. Data collected by the Census is used to determine how much funding congressional districts receive for a variety of services like schools, hospitals, healthcare, roads, public transit, and job programs. Moreover, Census data also helps local governments enhance public safety and prepare for emergencies. Visit www.My2020Census.gov now to complete the Census, and go to my Census page to discover why the Census is so critical for our community.
Each of us can make a difference, whether that is by wearing a mask, washing our hands, practicing social distancing, making sure to vote, and/or completing the Census. Help do your part by doing the same. #MaskUp. #YourVoteMatters. #EveryoneCounts. #InThisTogetherOhio.
For previous updates, please visit my Coronavirus Resource page, and do not hesitate to contact my District Office at (614) 220-0003 if you need assistance or have any questions or concerns.