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Ohio Elected Officials, Leaders Urge Senate to Pass American Rescue Plan & Outline Impact on Ohio Communities

Mar 02, 2021

Columbus, OH — Ohio elected officials and advocates joined Protect Our Care Ohio and For Our Future Ohio for a virtual press conference to urge the U.S. Senate to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and provide desperately needed relief to Ohio families and communities. 

The American Rescue Plan, which passed the U.S. House on Saturday and is now with the U.S. Senate, will provide state and local authorities with the resources they need to protect their communities during the pandemic. The plan includes funding to scale up vaccine distribution, protect families and frontline workers, boost struggling local businesses, and expand access to financial assistance for more middle-class families. It includes historic and overwhelmingly popular provisions to lower health care costs and expand access to care.

“Workers and their families need to see their government work for them, now,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. “And this rescue plan must be the beginning of our work to deliver results that empower people and make their lives better, not the end.”

“We are still in crisis and we need bold action before we are out of the woods — and that is what the American Rescue Plan brings,” said Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney. “What we need here in Chillicothe might not be the same as what they need in other communities across Ohio, so one of the most important pieces of this plan is that the aid that comes to local communities is unrestricted.”

“In good conscience we could not engage in tax foreclosures in all of 2020 and likely in 2021,” said Lucas County Treasurer Lindsay Webb. “That has an impact on the jurisdictions that rely on me to collect taxes so that they can provide essential services to the people that they serve. I can’t avoid foreclosure forever, but the last thing we want to do is hurt people who are trying to keep their families safe.”

“The American Rescue Plan provides a bold federal response for what we in cities need right now,” said Cleveland City Councilman Blaine Griffin. “It is vital to quickly distributing vaccines in the city of Cleveland, including within communities of color.”

“I may be the auditor of the 14th most populous city in America, but I am a small-town girl at heart,” said Columbus City Auditor Megan Kilgore. “It pains me to see hard-working people hurting back home in Southeastern Ohio – a region that has fed and fueled big cities like Columbus for generations. Just as it pains me to see families struggling to get by here in one of the fastest growing cities in America – where our diverse economy and Triple A bond rating has allowed us to weather this financial storm much more successfully than many other communities in the country.”

“The American Rescue Plan will help lower health care costs, which is especially important during tough economic times like these,” said Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio. “We need Congress to pass this bill because it is the right thing to do, but we also need to remember it is the popular thing to do. The vast majority of Americans support this legislation; they support taking big, bold action to help their friends, family, and neighbors who they see everyday struggling to make ends meet.”

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes several key provisions to, including:

Supporting State And Local Communities

  • Provides $440 billion in critical support for communities, to support small businesses, educators, transit workers, and first responders, including $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments to ensure they can keep front line public workers on the job and paid, and distribute the vaccine, scale up testing, reopen schools, and maintain vital services.

Protecting American Workers And Families

  • Increases direct payments to families by an additional $1,400 to help hard-hit households cover expenses and stimulate the economy.
  • Subsidizes COBRA through the end of September, invests $4 billion to help expand access to mental health services, and allocates $20 billion to help meet the health care needs of America’s veterans.
  • Extends eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, provides an additional $25 billion in assistance to support low-income renters. Allocates $5 billion to help states and localities secure housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessnes.  Extends the 15 percent SNAP benefit increase, and invests $3 billion in WIC to help women, infants and children access high-quality nutritious foods.
  • Provides $130 billion to help schools safely reopen, and $35 billion to help institutions of higher education implement public health protocols and execute distance learning.
  • Expands access to affordable child care by creating a $25 billion emergency stabilization fund for childcare providers, providing an additional $15 billion in funding through the Child Care Development Block Grant program, and increasing tax credits to help cover the cost of child care.

Robust Investment In Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Response

  • Invests $20 billion in a national vaccination program in partnership with states and localities. Sets up community vaccination sites and deploys mobile vaccination units to remote or hard-to-reach areas. 
  • Provides $50 billion for the expansion of testing, including funds for rapid tests, expanded lab capacity, and to help schools and localities implement testing.
  • Funds 100,000 public health workers for vaccine outreach and contact tracing, and $30 billion in the Disaster Relief Fund to strengthen supplies of protective gear.

Lowering the cost of health care

  • Lowers the cost of premiums for Ohioans purchasing coverage through the ACA marketplace by ensuring enrollees have the option to purchase health care for less than 8.5% of their income for the next two years.
  • Makes coverage more affordable for middle class Ohioans by temporarily expanding the eligibility for premium tax credits above 400 percent of the federal poverty level— roughly $51,000 for a single person or $105,000 for a family of four. Under current law, families earning just above 400 percent of the federal poverty level spend an average of15 percent of their incomes on health insurance.
  • Improves affordability for low- and middle-income Ohioans by increasing the size of the tax credits for all income brackets for the next two years. This means a typical family of four with a household income of $75,000 would save $248 on monthly premiums, while a single adult earning $30,000 would save $110 per month.
  • Eliminates premiums in the exchanges for people earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $19,000 for a single person and $39,000 for a family of four) and for Ohioans receiving unemployment insurance in 2021.

The virtual press conference can be viewed here. Learn more about how President Biden’s American Rescue Plan would lower costs and expand access to health care here.