Coronavirus: Here’s how Ohio lawmakers reacted to virus relief bill

The House of Representatives gave congressional approval Wednesday of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill with a 220-211 vote.

The approval came four days after the Senate passed the bill. Republicans in both the Senate and House opposed the legislation, saying it was bloated and crammed with liberal policies.

President Joe Biden tweeted “help is here” and said he planned to sign the bill Friday, while the Republican National Convention said the package made a “mockery” of the coronavirus pandemic and called it “wasteful pork spending.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, who has announced that he will not seek reelection, appeared on Fox News Wednesday and said he was discouraged the bill lacked bipartisanship when both Republicans and Democrats together have approved previous COVID relief measures.

“Five times in the last year we passed COVID-19 bills with huge majorities, over 90 votes each. So it was an area where there should be total bipartisanship or nonpartisanship. … My concern is once again, they’re going to ignore the Republicans as they did this time around, do it under reconciliation, add taxes and add other projects that aren’t really going to help the economy as much as pursue an agenda.”

Here’s what other Ohio lawmakers said about the relief bill:

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus

“The American Rescue Plan is all about meeting the magnitude of the moment for my constituents. Lives are on the line, and this historic package will put dollars into families’ pockets, get people back to work, return children and teachers safely to the classroom, improve vaccine distribution, and strengthen our economy so that we can continue to build back better—all while crushing the virus. The Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional Democrats pledged direct relief to the people and small businesses who need it most. This landmark, life-changing piece of legislation makes good on that promise.

“The American Rescue Plan will deliver immediate relief to working families bearing the brunt of the crisis, defeat the virus and safely open school and support small businesses and communities struggling with the economic fallout.”

Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton

“Today one of the most liberal and expensive pieces of legislation in modern history was passed on party lines. Having supported several bipartisan COVID relief packages that included direct aid for struggling hospitals, small businesses and families, I am deeply disappointed that only 9% of this nearly $2 trillion bill will go towards COVID relief. This was a missed opportunity to address the needs of our local communities by providing targeted relief tied to COVID, however, I am encouraged by increased vaccinations, the continued success of PPP loans for small businesses and recent job growth, which aid Ohio and America’s path to recovery.”

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