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Portman, Brown Pushing For New Round Of Federal COVID-19 Relief


Ohio's two U.S. Senators are among the congressional leaders calling for passage of a new COVID-19 economic relief package. The senators say the bipartisan proposal can target areas hit hardest by the pandemic. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.<--break->

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says Congress should act now to pass the relief package which would send more federal dollars to support unemployment and small businesses.

Portman says the CARES Act in March stopped people from falling into poverty.

"But since then, this continual economic pain, felt particularly by low and middle-income Americans, combined with the lack of action on our part here in Congress to help them, has meant the poverty rate has actually gone back up since May," Portman said on the Senate floor.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says the plan should be a targeted approach to help people in need, adding that shouldn't be difficult since the first round of relief proved successful.

"We did it right back in March so we use that as a template to do it again. We should've done it months and months ago."

The current proposal does not include stimulus checks to taxpayers. Brown says the plan should pass quickly and Congress should follow up with more help, including direct payments.

"I’m supportive of the bipartisan effort to pass COVID relief, but, based on what I’ve heard about the proposal, we will need to do more, including sending another round of direct payments to help families make ends meet. Ohioans can’t wait," Brown said.

Meanwhile, Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) has been urging Congress to pass a measure. He says Ohio is at a crucial point in the pandemic and needs financial support.  

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