Stimulus Money: Brown, Portman hopeful of passing package to get checks in hands in weeks

Stimulus Money: Brown, Portman hopeful of passing package to get checks in hands in weeks
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (left), and U.S. Rob Portman (Cox Media Group Ohio archives)

WASHINGTON D.C. — Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both hopeful the next stimulus package legislation will pass soon, so Ohioans could see stimulus checks in a matter of weeks.

As lawmakers consider new stimulus checks for Americans, News Center 7′s Katy Andersen talked with both Senators about what is getting in the way of this becoming a realty.

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“He waited months for it and it’s simply not serious,” Brown told News Center 7, referring to the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools, or HEALS Act, which was introduced Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The proposal includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, but President Trump said Wednesday, “It may go higher than that.”

“This would be money getting into people’s hands quickly which is helpful. Not just to help people make ends meet, which is important, but also to keep the economy moving, because people use that money to buy stuff,” Portman said Thursday.

Today, the Senate failed to pass an extension of federal unemployment benefits, which are set to expire tomorrow. Republicans wanted to cut back the $600 per week benefit to $200 per week. Democrats blocked that effort, and pushed for an extension of the $600 benefit, but that too failed.

“Studies show about 68 percent on unemployment - are making more on unemployment insurance than they would at work,” Portman said. “I don’t think anyone thinks that’s appropriate, that people would make more not to work. So the question is, what is the right amount?”

Brown argues that people are still struggling to find jobs.

“If we pull back, it means the economy is going to get worse, it will mean workers will lose their apartments or not be able to pay their mortgage,” Brown said.

Brown said Democrats would like to see more funding for small businesses, state and local governments and public education. They also want more financial assistance to renters or homeowners, and an extension of the federal rental eviction moratorium.

“The anxiety you face losing your unemployment, having no protections to stay in your apartment. I’m not an alarmist but it means millions of Americans will lose their apartments,” Brown said.