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Rep. Smith applauds passage, but questions GOP's costly delay of $2 billion in COVID-19 relief funds

Says GOP slow-walk of funding hurt Ohio workers and businesses
April 15, 2021
Monique Smith News

Rep. Monique Smith (D-Fairview Park) today applauded the House passage of a $2 billion package of coronavirus relief bills to deliver direct aid for rent and utility assistance, childcare providers, bars, restaurants, lodging and schools, among other industries facing economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic lawmakers also expressed concern over the months-long delay in the release of the funding, which they say slowed the state’s recovery.

“This funding will help families keep a roof over their heads, help small businesses keep their doors open, and provide much-needed resources to schools and childcare facilities,” said Rep. Smith. “I only wish that the GOP majority had allocated this assistance sooner to the many Ohioans who have been struggling to make ends meet for these many months of the pandemic. I was happy to finally have the chance to vote to help struggling families, businesses, and schools get the resources they need to re-build their lives and move toward a better, brighter future.”

Funding for the package, House Bills 167-170, was included in the federal CARES Act which passed in March 2020, as well as the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, which passed in Dec. 2020.

During the committee process, Democrats fought to expand stipend eligibility to allow more child care providers to qualify, helping smaller, family-run child care providers access critical funding during the pandemic.

Funding in the bills include:

  • $465 million for emergency rental and utility assistance.
  • $100 million for federal disaster assistance
  • $299.9 million for grants to businesses and child care providers impacted by COVID-19, and for local fairs and Ohio Veterans Homes.
  • $135 million to provide grants to bars, restaurants, and lodging businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $683.1 million for Federal Coronavirus School Relief
  • $154.9 million emergency assistance funds to non-public schools.
  • $173 million to the Department of Health for Public Health Emergency Response.
  • $19 million of federal funds to county boards of developmental disabilities serving school-age students, educational service centers, and joint vocational school districts.
  • $8 million to the Adjutant General for coronavirus relief.