Portman on Fox News: “Let’s Get Politics Out of COVID Relief Bill & Do What’s Right for the American People”

September 16, 2020 | Portman Difference

This afternoon on Fox News’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Senator Portman highlighted the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together on COVID-19 relief legislation and focus on the areas of agreement between the two parties: increased testing, additional funding for schools and universities, and restarting the Payment Protection Program, which has saved countless small businesses. As he did last week after Senate Democrats voted to block targeted COVID-19 response legislation, Portman urged Senate Democrats insisting on passing the partisan, $3.5 trillion HEROES Act to instead work together and negotiate in good faith with Republicans to finalize additional coronavirus response legislation so that Americans do not continue to go without relief. He believes the shared policy goals in the targeted bill can serve as a good starting point for bipartisan negotiation and he will advocate for his additional priorities of more flexibility and additional for state and local funding, permanently access to telehealth, and funding for rural broadband development as so many telework, use telehealth, and attend school virtually.

In addition, Portman applauded the Big Ten Conference for their decision to proceed with collegiate football this season with a robust plan for safety in place.

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

PORTMAN ON NEED TO QUICKLY PASS TARGETED COVID RELIEF LEGISLATION:

“It may take a political miracle to have one, but we are actually not that far apart on substance. State and local funding may be the exception to that, but there’s a compromise to be made there so long as it’s justified – in other words, it’s actually needed and there’s a way to bring that money back and repurpose it if it’s not needed. But on the other stuff, think about it, Neil, everyone wants to extend the PPP, which is the program for small businesses that expired on August 8th, so you have small businesses who can’t apply, you have ones who need an extension of their existing proposal in order to keep their doors open. So everybody wants that. The testing, we had $16 billion in our bill on Thursday that was considered the targeted bill just for testing. We want that in Ohio. We need it because we are doing a lot of testing at our nursing homes and elsewhere. Think of all the sports teams that are testing now. We have a lot of need for that. So I think there’s a lot of similarities, actually. The money for schools, as they are beginning to reopen, in the Republican proposal, the targeted, smaller proposal on Thursday, we put more money in for schools than was in the HEROES Act, the $3.5 trillion Democrat proposal. So it’s hard for them to say it’s not enough. I mean it was actually $105 billion, which is slightly more. I think there’s a lot of similarity, even on unemployment insurance. And there, there’s a lot of urgency right now, because I was told by the Secretary of Labor over the weekend that, as of now, that money has run out. Remember, it was $600 federal supplement, then it was $300, and almost every state, all but two, applied for it. That’s now gone. So it’s perfect timing for us to step in and say okay, let’s continue doing that.”

PORTMAN ON WORKING TO FIND A COMPROMISE BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ON COVID RELIEF BILL:

“I’d be okay with that as part an overall package, because, frankly, we still have a problem with regard to our economy. We are not out of the woods yet, and all of us are concerned about the second wave coming in November, December, what impact that is going to have on the economy. So let’s not cut this thing off. I think what the Democrats are saying, politically, frankly, is that they are winning. In other words, somehow Republicans are getting blamed even though we are the ones putting out a proposal last week, even though the president is saying he is for it. I don’t think the Speaker is feeling a whole lot of pressure. Plus I’ve heard from Democrat colleagues, she thinks she’ll get a better deal after the election, she’ll have more leverage somehow. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, by the way, regardless of the results of the election. The point is, let’s get the politics out of this thing. Let’s forget who’s winning and who’s losing. Let’s do what’s right for the American people. We’re not out of the woods yet, we need more money for PPP, for small businesses so they don’t shut down between now and the election. We need to do something for our schools and health care system generally. We have to be sure that we are putting more funding towards the therapies and the vaccines, and on unemployment insurance, there’s still some people who still can’t work.”

PORTMAN ON BIG TEN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE DECISION TO PLAY THIS YEAR:

“I was celebrating today by wearing my Ohio State Big Ten face covering. I’m excited about it. I think it’s the right thing to do, safely. And this is what’s really important to note, is that since the initial decisions were made, some things have changed. One is, we have seen some professional sports teams successfully compete in a safe way. We also have a lot more testing now, and we have this new Abbott test that apparently they are looking to use, which is not only more accurate but is much more quick in terms of the turnaround to know. Having additional testing, having had some experience in this now, having laid out a way to do it safely, I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s good for Ohio State, by the way, because we are ranked number two in the preseason rankings and we want to get into the National Championship. That means we’ve got to start playing football. If you don’t have games in October, we don’t have enough of a record to compete. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

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