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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Sen. Brown Proposes 'Heroes Fund' for Front-line Workers

a photo of doctors operating
Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic
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Doctors operate at the Cleveland Clincic. Sen. Sherrod Brown is pushing to compensate workers at the forefront of the pandemic through the proposed "Heroes Fund."

Sen. Sherrod Brown has proposed a plan to provide bonus pay to workers at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic. The Heroes Fund would give essential workers a bonus of up to $25,000 dollars. 

Brown said the Heroes Fund includes workers deemed essential by the State of Ohio, including first responders and workers in hospitals, nursing homes, public transit, food supply chains and grocery stores.

"There are millions of people that are on the front lines of this crisis," Brown said on a conference call with media. 

"They're working directly for patients and saving lives in hospitals, in nursing homes. They're working in our supply chains. They drive trucks. They drive city buses. They make sure our store shelves stay stocked," he said.

The plan also calls for a bonus of $15,000 for new workers recruited to be first responders or health and home care workers.

Brown said it would be funded by a yet-established government fund that could include funding from larger employers. 

The plan would not be its own bill but would be rolled into a future pandemic relief package.

Brown said he's hopeful to find support from Senate Republicans.

Co-sponsors include Sen. Chuck Shumer (D-NY), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-AZ) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI).