What You Need to Know About Coronavirus
** THIS PAGE WAS MOST RECENTLY UPDATED ON MAY 5, 2021 **
HOW IS CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?
- The best way to prevent getting the virus is to avoid being exposed to the virus
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are within six-feet of each other and through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with virus coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
FIVE STEP PLAN / CONFRONTING COVID-19 & LIVING IN OHIO
The Ohio Department of Health anticipates that Ohioans will be living with COVID-19 prevention measures for the foreseeable future. As a result, the Department has laid out a five-step plan as scientist work to perfect antiviral treatments and eventually a vaccine includes:
- Social distancing
- Contact Tracing
- Isolation and Quarantine
- Excellent Treatment
STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (washing your hands while singing the birthday song), especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- AVOID crowds of 10 or more people and practice social distancing.
- AVOID touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- COVER your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you feel sick or are caring for someone who is, PLEASE stay home.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
The CDC has also recommended taking the following precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- Use cloth face covering to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- The cloth face coverings should: fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include MULTIPLE layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
For more information on how to make cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19, please visit here.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
The CDC has identified the following symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Muscle weakness/fatigue
- Tingliness and numbness in feet, hands and extremities
- Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain or discomfort
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Please visit the CDC's website for helpful tips to prevent the spread of illness if you are sick or if you are caring for someone who is sick.
WHO TO CALL IF YOU NEED HELP?
Columbus Public Health: For COVID-19 inquiries call: (614) 645-1519
Ohio Department of Health: The Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions regarding COVID-19. The call center is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 8:00pm, and can be reached at: 1-833-427-5634. The Ohio Department of Health also has a free mobile app that allows you to find local doctors, local emergency care locations, and any other pertinent information.
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.
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.
STATEWIDE MASK ORDER
On November 12, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine reissued a statewide order requiring all citizens to wear masks while out in public. The measure requires that individuals wear face masks at indoor locations that are not a residence, at outdoor locations where six feet of social distance is not feasible and when queuing for public transportation services. Exclusions for the statewide mask order include individuals with a medical condition or disability and those communicating with someone with a disability. Other exemptions include those participating in athletic activities, officiants at religious services, those involved in public safety, and anyone eating or drinking.
COVID-19 VACCINE ELIGIBILITY
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), the State of Ohio began strategically and thoughtfully distributing the vaccine to Ohioans most at risk, and developed a phased approach to distribution.
UPDATE: On March 16, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced another expansion of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility. Under the new expansion, those ages 40 and up and those with five medical conditions will be eligible for the vaccine. Further, DeWine noted that by March 29th, all Ohioans ages 16 and older should be eligible. The new health conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and obesity.
Columbus City Schools will transition students in grades 6-12 to Blended Learning in March. Phase-in dates are set for students to return to school (by grade level) on March 15th and 22nd. Please click here for more information.
If you live outside of the Columbus City School District, please contact your local school district.
During the extended canceling of classes, Columbus City Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch for ALL children age 18 and under, Monday through Friday. More information can be found on Columbus City Schools' website.
SENIOR HOME DELIVERED MEALS
Any Franklin County resident 60 or over who is struggling to access food while sheltering in place is eligible to receive home delivered meals. Now through March 31, 2021, Franklin County Senior Options will not require income verification to receive home delivered meals. To request the meals, and other available services, call Senior Options at 614-525-6200, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
COTA will begin reinstating fares for customers, after suspending fares temporarily at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Fares will resume on January 11, 2021 for all fixed-route transit lines and COTA//Plus Services, and February 1, 2021 for COTA Mainstream and Mainstream-on-Demand.
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.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing financial assistance to families who lost a loved one due to COVID-19. All U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and additional persons are eligible to apply if funeral expenses were sustained after January 20, 2020. Applications cannot be completed online, rather please call 844-684-6333, Monday-Friday, to begin the registration process. For more information, visit COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov.
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. PPP loans require no collateral or personal guarantees and no fees are assessed on borrowers. Repayment of principal, interest, and fees is deferred for a period of six months to one year, and interest rates set at 1 percent. The maximum size of the loan is 250 percent of an employer’s average monthly payroll cost during the period Feb. 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, capped at $10 million. PPP loans may be used to cover payroll costs and employee benefits, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities. Payroll costs include salary and wages, employee benefits, and state and local taxes assessed on compensation. For sole proprietors and independent contractors, payroll costs include wages, commissions, income, and net earnings from self-employment. For eligible entities that do not have traditional payroll costs, such as sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed individuals, your payroll costs for purposes of applying for PPP are defined as the net profit amount found on your 2019 IRS Form 1040, divided by 12 to calculate the average monthly net profit, and multiplying that by 2.5. For more information on how to calculate your payroll costs visit https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/How-to-Calculate-Loan-Amounts.pdf.
The payroll expenditure requirement is 60 percent of the loan, and borrowers must spend at least 60 percent on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven. Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31, 2020. New borrowers have five years to repay the loan instead of two. Existing PPP loans can be extended up to five years if the lender and borrower agree.
As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, Congress authorized an additional $284 billion for first and second round of PPP loans for small businesses. While requirements for a first round of PPP loans is substantially similar to the information provided above, the requirements for second round PPP loans has a few changes. To be eligible for a second round of PPP, a small business shall have no more than 300 employees and must demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum loan size a small business is eligible to receive is 2.5 times average monthly payroll costs up to $2 million. Some small businesses may be eligible to receive 3.5 times average monthly payroll costs if they are in the accommodation and food services industry. Additionally, Congress expanded eligibility for PPP loans to 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations.
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.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in the State of Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Loan applications can be completed online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955.
NEW SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CUSTOMER HOTLINE
SBA has launched a new customer hotline. To reach them, please call: 877-641-8202.
SBA LOAN APPLICATION RECONSIDERATION
Declined applicants can present additional information which may overcome the reason(s) for the decline.
The written reconsideration request must contain all significant new information to overcome all of the initial decline reasons. If the most recent financial statements are older than 12 months, business loan applicants must provide current financial statements. SLOs can accept these requests if the applicant complied with the terms of the decline letter.
The reconsideration decline letter should state the following:
- The reason(s) the applicant was initially declined
- Whether or not the applicant was able to overcome the original decline reason(s) and
- Any new decline reason(s), if applicable.
NOTE: The letter to the applicant should also indicate 30 days to request an appeal of SBA's decision. However, if the decline upon reconsideration contains any new reason not previously conveyed to the applicant, SBA can extend the time frame to a total of 90 days (the standard 30 days plus an additional 60 days), with approval from the CD/PDC.
All required and supporting documents must be included in a single filing. All forms requiring signature must be signed and dated. Incomplete applications will not be accepted by the SBA.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Rd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243
If you were declined a Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and disagree with the decision from the SBA you should request reconsideration by follow the steps below.
Mail your request to the address at the top of the decline letter or
Fax your request to: 202-481-5931 or
E-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your request must:
Be in writing and be received as soon as possible (but no later than the DATE THAT IS 3 MONTHS FROM DATE OF APPLICATION DECISION DATE.)
Contain all significant information that will address the decline/withdrawal reason(s).
If you have any questions, please contact 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY) (800) 877-8339
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 will receive 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.
If you did not receive the full amount of the first round of EIP, you may be eligible to claim a Recovery Rebate on your 2020 federal tax return. To learn more, please visit the IRS website here (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit).
UPDATE: 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. Second round EIP started being distributed the last week of December. To track your second round EIP, please visit the IRS’s “Get My Payment” website, here (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment) or if you have questions please visit the IRS’s FAQs website here (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions).
UDPATE #2: 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 set up a payment plan on your city utilities bill. You may request an extension of one to three months on your 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 your 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.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: 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
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE #2: 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.
Ohioans who apply for unemployment benefits on or after December 6th will be required to conduct work-search activities because of an expiring section of state law (Section 19 of H.B. 197). Work-search requirements will be waived for individuals quarantined or isolated by order of a medical professional, local health authority or employer, per the Governor Mike DeWine’s Executive Order. Allowable work-search activities can include anything from applying for a job to posting a resume on OhioMeansJobs.com. On any given day, OhioMeansJobs.com lists more than 100,000 job openings, and more than half pay over $50,000 per year.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is communicating more detailed guidance to affected claimants and posting information at unemployment.ohio.gov. Individuals will have their work-search requirement met if they are members in good standing with a union hiring hall that refers its members to jobs. In addition, for those in approved school or training, their work-search requirement may be considered met if they are attending all classes and making satisfactory progress.
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.
GLOBAL LEVEL 4 HEALTH ADVISORY--DO NOT TRAVEL
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
At present the Department of State is making every effort to assist U.S. citizens overseas who wish to return to the United States. As the Covid-19 situation develops, our ability to provide such assistance working with commercial airlines or arranging for evacuation flights may become more limited or even unavailable. In recent weeks, commercial airlines have significantly reduced flight schedules and countries have closed airports and borders with little advance notice. If you wish to return to the United States, you should make arrangements to do so now and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance as needed. There is no guarantee that the Department of State will be able to continue to provide repatriation assistance and transportation options to the United States may be unavailable in the future. If you choose to remain overseas, you should be prepared to remain where you are for the foreseeable future.
U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.
You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.
Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. For emergency assistance, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.
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.
COVID-19 CENTRAL OHIO GRANTS
To date, Ohio's Third Congressional District has received over $1.36 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.*
- $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.