Taking Action. Making an Impact in Ohio’s Third Congressional District and Beyond
Last week, another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment, bringing the total number of unemployment claims in the last 17 weeks to a staggering 49+ million. Let’s not forget that some 3.8 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and another 136,000 have also died from the virus.
Yet, we are still in the ‘early innings’ of this public health crisis, and the constituents of Ohio’s Third Congressional District and people everywhere are hurting. Many are struggling to pay their bills, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their families’ heads. Some have even lost family, friends, and neighbors to the disease. We all have been affected in one way or the other.
Let me assure you that I see you and hear you. I’ve also heard and seen a lot from scientists and public health experts, including CDC Director Robert Redfield and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, who agree on one simple step that everyone can take to combat COVID-19 and help flatten the curve: wearing a face covering. So, I am proud to announce that I have cosponsored the Masks Work Act, H.R. 7317, a piece of legislation to provide a free cloth face covering through the mail to any American who requests one as well as establish a related public service campaign and further invest in mask efficacy research.
In addition to boosting the national effort to supply free masks, I am also fighting to extend unemployment insurance benefits that are set to expire on July 31, 2020. As you may be aware, the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) expanded unemployment insurance by providing an additional $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit for workers who lost their job during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the U.S. House of Representatives subsequently passed The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, that extended unemployment insurance through January 31, 2021, that legislation has languished in the U.S. Senate. In response, I joined 109 of my congressional colleagues in sending a letter to the White House imploring the Administration and Senate Leadership for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. As we noted in our letter, “Cutting off enhanced unemployment benefits while the economy is still in crisis would ignore the millions of Americans who are still suffering.”
Count small businesses—especially women- and minority-owned—among those suffering extreme economic losses because of COVID-19. Illustrated by the jaw-dropping statistic that, while small businesses overall experienced a 22 percent closure rate from February to April of 2020, the closure rates for minority-owned businesses were significantly higher: 41 percent for black-owned businesses; 32 percent for Latinx-owned businesses; and 26 percent for Asian-owned businesses.
That is why I held a Financial Services Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee hearing on July 9, 2020 focused on identifying policies and proposals to ease impediments on women- and minority-owned businesses’ access to capital and provide credit-based tools and financial products to help keep them afloat during these unprecedented times.
Finally, it bears repeating that our nation is also facing a national crisis of unabashed racism against unarmed Black people. Over three weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, H.R. 7120, when I had the unbelievable honor to preside over its consideration. As I said on the House floor prior to the historic vote, “We breathe for George Floyd,” and that, “today, my colleagues, we go from agony to action.” Unfortunately, this bill too has stalled in the Senate, but I remain hopeful Democrats and Republicans can come together to ensure justice for all Americans and enshrine accountability and transparency in law enforcement.
Another key to help make this happen, I believe, is a vote on my resolution, H.Res. 990. If enacted, the measure would formally recognize racism as a ‘national crisis’ and call on Congress to undertake a truth and reconciliation process.
The work certainly continues. In that spirit, I strongly encourage you to stay up to date on the latest developments and my work in Ohio’s Third Congressional District and the nation’s capital by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
In the meantime, stay healthy and stay safe. For previous updates, please visit my Coronavirus Resource page.