Portman says bipartisan action needed on COVID-19 surge

Published 2:06 am Saturday, November 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, spoke Monday on the urgency for Congress to act to pass bipartisan legislation to respond to the health care and economic crises caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In Ohio and across the country, new coronavirus cases are increasing, with Ohio surpassing 6,500 and the United States surpassing 100,000 new cases in a day for the first time earlier this month.

Portman called on Congress to provide the relief he said Americans need and deserve.

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In particular, he believes funding for testing and contact tracing, vaccine and therapy developments, and his Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit, which he said helps businesses reopen and stay open, are all common-sense proposals with bipartisan support upon which a new COVID-19 response package should be built.

“(It) basically says, ‘we all want people back to work, back to school, back in the hospitals, well let’s do it safely.’ This would really help the bars, restaurants, salons, the gyms, bowling alleys and other businesses to be able to reopen safely and stay open by basically compensating them for the purchase of hand sanitizers, and PPE like face shields and gloves, for the reconfiguration of their work places with Plexiglas, as you’ve seen, and for other measures to allow for social distancing,” Portman said.

Portman urged his colleagues to put aside the partisanship that he said has stymied previous efforts to pass COVID-19 relief legislation and focus on solutions that help the American people.

“Whatever we do, we can’t afford to delay any longer,” Portman said. “American lives are at stake, and we are in danger of losing ground where we gained it on the coronavirus as this third wave threatens my home state of Ohio and our country. Let’s not wait any longer. Let’s come together and once again get something done that helps the people we represent.”