On Fox Business, Portman Discusses Need for More Testing to Reopen the Economy Successfully

April 22, 2020 | Portman Difference

In an interview with Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria this morning, Senator Portman discussed the additional rescue funding that passed the Senate yesterday, which will provide additional resources to help American families, workers, health care providers, and small and mid-sized employers around the nation during this coronavirus pandemic. The legislation will increase loan capacity for small businesses, provide needed resources for health care providers, and increase testing capacity. The legislation awaits passage by the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Portman also highlighted that in order to restore our economic health, we must first accelerate the public health response, significantly expand our testing capability, and develop a credible system of metrics to measure success in combating the coronavirus.  Ultimately, when we start to see the number of new cases decline, it will give the public greater confidence that we can begin to reopen the economy and stay open.  

Excerpts of his interview can be found below and a video can be found here.   

PORTMAN ON HOW DEMOCRATS SLOWED DOWN ADDITIONAL FUNDING PACKAGE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES: 

“Yes, and it must. SBA had to stop all of the loans. As you know, there were a lot in process because the money ran out and it’s been almost a week since we’ve been able to move on this and it took too long. And frankly, Democrats blocked it knowing that the PPP program was running out, so it’s too bad but I think now since the cap has been lifted, a lot of the applications that were already in the queue are going to be approved and more people will be able to step forward.” 

PORTMAN ON THE NEXT RESCUE PACKAGE TO HELP STIMULATE THE ECONOMY: 

“I think we need to move to a new package after we see how this one works. We’ve now provided over $3 trillion, as I look at it, of really emergency relief, it’s not stimulus yet. The next package ought to focus on municipalities that I think are, at least here in Ohio, having a tough time providing public services and particularly public safety – fire, police, and EMS.  And we ought to start talking about stimulus, how to get the economy moving again, and that’s really about both the tax side and the infrastructure side. The president has talked about some tax incentives he would like to see, I think that makes sense. I also think some infrastructure spending is appropriate but as we begin to reopen, it’s the time to actually help stimulate the economy. That’s what the next package ought to focus on.” 

PORTMAN ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S PLAN TO STOP IMMIGRATION FOR 60 DAYS: 

“Well, I’m glad it’s temporary because I don’t see how that necessarily helps the economy right now because we do need some of these people who have skills who are providing help to our economy but I don’t think there’s much immigration going on any way, to be honest, right now because things have really slowed down and Customs and Border Protection has a lot of other priorities.” 

PORTMAN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MORE TESTING TO REOPEN THE ECONOMY SUCCESSFULLY: 

“The key to me is how do we continue with this rescue package until we start to reopen which will happen in just the next few weeks in many states. In fact, some states are starting to reopen. Let’s do it safely. One thing I liked about this last package, Maria, is that there’s money for more testing, because we need the testing not just to reopen safely, but also once we reopen we don’t want to close again and by having the adequate testing out there to monitor what’s going on, and to have an immediate reaction should there be a hot spot, because there will be. Or to respond to what the CDC is now saying might happen in the winter, we need to up our game in terms of the ability to test, to contact trace and to be able to appropriately stop the spread of the virus if it occurs again. We want to reopen and stay open.

"If you have a hot spot in a place like a senior living facility or, we talked earlier about the first pitch you threw at Yankee Stadium, if a sports team comes down with a coronavirus issue, which has happened, or a packing plant as we just saw in the Midwest, you want to be able to respond quickly. You want to be able to provide the testing so we know what’s going on and then figure out who that person has been in contact with, do the contact tracing, you know do the quarantining to stop it from spreading. That’s what we didn’t have at the start. We need to have that capability as we reopen to be sure we don’t have to go in fits and starts, but rather we can reopen and stay open.”     

###