House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and House Finance Committee Ranking Member Rep. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) 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.
“From the onset of the pandemic, Democrats have called for targeted aid to working people, families and businesses negatively impacted by this historic crisis. And while I’m glad we could finally deliver these funds to those who need it most, it’s troubling to me that it took Republicans this long to get it done. The distribution of these funds should never have been delayed,” said Leader Sykes.
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.
“The economic impact on families and businesses during the pandemic has been unlike anything we’ve seen. That’s why delaying these relief funds has been so costly. It’s slowed our recovery and led to unnecessary uncertainty for too many Ohioans,” said Rep. Crawley. “I’m encouraged that we’ll finally be able to distribute these long-overdue funds to ensure greater economic security and stability for working people, families and small businesses across Ohio as we begin to recover from this crisis.”
During the committee process, Rep. Crawley 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.