Ohio Legislators Slam Coronavirus Bill Add-ons, Praise Bipartisan Effort

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After months of infighting, Congress passed a coronavirus relief bill late on Monday night, prompting Ohio legislators to praise bipartisan measures to provide relief during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Although it received backlash from a wide array of legislators for its more than 5,500 pages of text — with many saying it was impossible to read completely before the vote — the $2.3 trillion bill included a $900 billion stimulus package aimed at supporting struggling Americans.

The bill passed late Monday night 359-53 in the House of Representatives and 92-6 in the Senate, according to GovTrack. Of all legislators from Ohio, only Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) and Warren Davidson (R-OH-8) voted against the bill.

It is now on its way to President Trump’s desk. The bill includes provisions for $600 in stimulus checks per person, which falls short of the $1,200 checks seen earlier this year. It also includes an additional $300 per week for 11 weeks in unemployment benefits and reopens the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some Ohio legislators said they were grateful for bipartisan measures, but criticized how long it took to pass a relief bill.

At least one legislator went after Republicans, saying that they held up a stimulus bill.

“Seven months after the House passed The Heroes Act, Republicans have finally relented to allow more support to the American people who are struggling through the three pandemics: COVID-19, economic hardship, and social injustice,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3) in a statement. “So, let me be clear: the GOP has had a knee on Americans’ necks by holding this bill up, and it still falls short of what we need to get through this crisis.”

Others praised specific provisions included in the bill they say will directly support Ohio residents.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said he fought for language to end surprise medical bills and for “key investments in Ohio’s military installations.”

“In the midst of such a difficult year for Ohio, the package we secured tonight will provide critical investments and support for our state. Ohio families and communities are struggling, and this package is a first step toward getting them the help they need,” Brown said in a statement. “We’ll all have more work to do in the months and years ahead, but the Senate passage of this package tonight is an important victory for our state.”

Although some criticized the bill’s additional add-ons, which includes many special interests such as abortion policy and funding for a border wall, many agreed that holding up the bill any longer would do even more damage to struggling Americans.

“Undoubtedly, there are unnecessary provisions in the overall bill,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2) in a statement, who added that he supported provisions that end surprise medical bills. “However, our country faces unprecedented circumstances and urgent needs, and I supported this legislation because I know the American people have been counting on us to deliver relief.”

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.

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