Safeguarding Our Elections, Economy, and Community
Since my last update, a lot has certainly happened. Now, more than 50 million workers have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment—including another one million last week alone—over 170,000 Americans have died and some 5.6 million have contracted COVID-19. If that wasn’t bad enough, 10 million Americans will likely lose their healthcare coverage and 30 million Americans are struggling to feed themselves and their families. Yet, the White House and President Trump continue to downplay the seriousness of the public health crisis, and Congressional Republicans want to cut unemployment and do not support additional funds to assist tens of millions of our citizens in need. Not to be outdone, the Trump Administration is actively undermining the United States Postal Service (USPS), which could have a profound effect on the 2020 Presidential Election—and further jeopardize the health and safety of countless Americans as well as the integrity of our election process.
In response, I returned to the nation’s capital yesterday to help pass the Delivering for America Act, H.R. 8015, a bill to invest more than $25 billion in funds into the USPS, to prioritize mail-in ballots and to reverse recent operational changes to ensure that the agency can continue its important work now and through the Election. Your vote is your voice, so I want to guarantee that if you cast a ballot by mail your vote is counted. This notion strikes at the very heart of our nation’s democracy. Mail delays are unacceptable, but delaying our democracy would be catastrophic.
To that effect, I held a press conference in front of the Oakland Park Station, located at 2200 Innis Road in Ohio’s Third Congressional District, on Tuesday, August 28th, to call out the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage the postal service. I was pleased to be joined at the event by Franklin County Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, State Senator Hearcel Craig, State Representative David Leland and Urbancrest Mayor Joseph Barnes.
Safeguarding the USPS is not a partisan issue because its services are vital to all of us. Every day, millions of seniors, veterans, consumers and American families rely on the postal service for the delivery of lifesaving prescriptions, to pay their bills and taxes, to receive packages, paychecks and Social Security benefits, and much more. In fact, House Democrats and I have been echoing that message for months—long before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s unilateral, politically-motivated assault on the agency he is sworn to lead and protect.
As a reminder, three months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, a comprehensive piece of legislation that would provide—among many other important funding priorities—$25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS to make up for lost revenue and to purchase personal protective equipment as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, The Heroes Act has languished in Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s self-described ‘legislative graveyard.’ In addition, I have been outspoken in the need for the immediate dismissal of DeJoy.
It is clear that the only way we are going to get McConnell, Congressional Republicans and the White House to act is by raising our voices and keeping their feet to the fire. Our efforts are working. Following backlash and pressure, DeJoy reversed course, pledging to suspend all overhaul efforts until after the Election. However, that is not nearly enough. He needs to bring back into service ALL previously removed sorting machines and mailboxes. To make that happen, we must join together to demand change and accountability. In that spirit, I want to hear from you. Share your story and tell me what the USPS means to you by completing this survey.
The postal service is of extreme concern, but so too is the growing economic crisis and personal toll the COVID-19 Pandemic is having on everyone, including communities of color. That is why 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, authoring the Consumer Relief During COVID-19 Act, H.R. 7796. If enacted, this measure would strictly prohibit creditors from taking certain actions to collect debt from a consumer during and 120 days after a national disaster or emergency. Moreover, I spoke at the Franklin County Commissioners August 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.
You’ll also be interested to know that I voted this month in support of an amendment preventing the U.S. Department of Justice from spending any federal funds on the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act—because the last thing we should be doing 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 threatens the retirement and financial future of today’s Social Security recipients and future generations.
Finally, as CARES Act funds are 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.
Congress still has work to do to address the financial, personal and societal effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As we move forward, please know that you, your family, Central Ohio small businesses and all of Ohio’s Third Congressional District come first in everything that I do. It truly is an honor to serve as your Member of Congress.
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.