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Health & Science

More Stimulus Payments, Better Protection for Frontline Workers Sought by NEO Legislators

a screen capture of Tim Ryan
In a Zoom call with reporters Thursday, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13) said he's optimistic a proposal he's pushing for more stimulus payments will win approval.

Pressure is mounting for Congress to act on another relief package. Legislators from northeast Ohio are speaking out about what they’d like to see in it.

Members of Congress are hearing from local government leaders, businesses, nonprofits and social service agencies. Government leaders are concerned about how to sustain operations as revenues tumble. 

"Every business in their town is closed except for the grocery stores and maybe the liquor store," said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13) in a Zoom call with reporters Thursday. "How are they going to fund police and fire in a time when we have a global pandemic and you need police and fire and emergency management people going out to make sure people are being taken care of? So there is a panic ensuing among local elected officials and mayors that we need to help."  

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said a conversation he had Wednesday with a county children’s services agency underscores the need for the agency's employees to have protective equipment.

"Their young workers, mostly young workers, who are helping in some of the toughest situations for children, are out and about exposing themselves to the virus every single day," he said. Brown also wants these workers to receive bonus pay.

And he's concerned people might lose their housing when the coronavirus emergency is over. "That's why I want to see Congress provide an emergency rental and foreclosure assistance for those who have lost jobs that are in a perilous position," he said.  

Rep. Ryan wants people to get more money now. He’s pushing a plan for cash stimulus payments that would continue until the unemployment rate falls to pre-coronavirus levels.

"The most important thing is that this is consistent over several months until we get out of this mess, not just a one time cash infusion," Ryan said. 

Ryan's proposal calls for $2,000 payments per month to every citizen over age 16 who earns less than $130,000 annually and $4,000 per month to those who earn less than $260,000 annually. 

“If we’re gonna get out of this thing with a real economic push we’ve gotta make sure people have money in their pockets to pay their bills now so they don’t fall behind and they have money in their pockets as we begin to reopen the country, open up businesses," Ryan said. 

Both lawmakers are eager for negotiations to continue so another deal is finalized soon.