Sen. Portman says GOP proposed stimulus bill a ‘step in the right direction,’ Sen. Brown calls it insufficient

Local News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Senate Republicans have introduced a stimulus bill that will be voted on this week. It includes $300 of federal unemployment benefits and a new wave of PPP loans, but no mention of a second round of stimulus checks.

The GOP stimulus bill is not expected to pass.

Wednesday, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said it doesn’t address all of the things even he would like to see, but it’s a good starting point. Meanwhile, Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said the $300 is not enough for many who still don’t have a job.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the stimulus bill that he calls targeted, while Democrats call it emaciated. One big reason is the disagreement on unemployment insurance.

Portman said their proposal will call for $300 in federal unemployment insurance rather than the $600 Democrats want to see extended.

“That would mean that about 80 percent of people on UI would be making more on unemployment insurance than they would have at work and that’s not the situation we want to be in,” said Portman. “Compared to $300, some will make more, some will make less.”

Brown had a conference call where was joined by Matthew Urch, an unemployed casino worker from the Cleveland area. Urch said he lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic, and without the $600 in federal unemployment insurance, he collects just $179 a week.

“Today I’m talking to you with just $30 in my bank account,” said Urch. “When my regular benefits get paid today, I’ll have just over $200. I’m going to have to make a choice between my $200 car payment that was due on the 4th, or use that money to live off for the week. That’s the reality many Americans are going through without that extra help.”

The bill does call for a second round of PPP loans, financial support for schools and healthcare. But Brown said McConnell’s proposal is insufficient.

“If they pass something tiny like this, a little unemployment, nothing for rental assistance, nothing for state or local governments, he will say we did our job, we’re done,” said Senator Brown.

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