COLUMBUS, Ohio - Millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Funds are sitting in Columbus. The clock is ticking, specifically for childcare facilities and nursing homes still reeling to make ends meet.
“One thing is for sure people need help,” said Ohio House Minority Leader Ameila Sykes. “They have been saying it for a very long time, the Biden-Administration has provided that help.”
Childcare advocates told News 5 earlier this month that there is still nearly $500 million in federal funding from the America Rescue Plan Act that remains untouched, on top of several million dollars for nursing homes, according to state healthcare leaders and some of that money will expire if it’s not allocated in the next few weeks.
Lawmakers said if Ohio fails to allocate 50% of its childcare funds then millions will be lost on Dec. 11 and the same goes for nursing home relief on Dec. 31.
“There are resources that are available right now that could have been appropriated some time ago,” said Sykes. “Unfortunately, there is a lack of action of the Republican majority in the statehouse.”
Republicans disagree with Sykes claims, specifically Representative Sara Carruthers who introduced HB 461.
If passed prior to the end of the year, Carruthers’ bill could provide $300 million to nursing homes.
“Obviously it’s a priority for me, I don’t think that’s true at all,” said Carruthers. “I’m more focused on the nursing homes because I hear that more right now.”
Lawmakers told News 5 that there isn't a specific plan for the child care industry right now and the remaining relief funds are still gridlocked.
“It [legislation] would have to get in right away and draw it up immediately,” said Carruthers.
Both lawmakers agree legislation needs to be passed quickly but explained not much is on the table for next Wednesday’s session.
“We have been encouraging our colleagues to start this conversation and press forward with this,” said Sykes. “Unfortunately, there have been several cancellations of sessions over the past couple of months.”