Portman Op-Ed in Cincinnati Enquirer:  To Protect Our Economy, We Must First Protect Our Health

March 25, 2020 | Portman Difference

Today, in an op-ed published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senator Portman highlighted the benefits of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will help American families, workers, and employers large and small around the nation weather the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  In the op-ed, Portman makes the case 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.

The op-ed can be viewed here and excerpts are below: 

To Protect Our Economy, We Must First Protect Our Health

Senator Rob Portman

Cincinnati Enquirer

March 25, 2020 

The coronavirus pandemic is posing unprecedented challenges to our economy, closing businesses, costing jobs, shutting down schools, and testing our social safety nets in ways they’ve never been tested.

These are very real problems, and Congress continues to respond. The Senate is working to pass an unprecedented $2 trillion Phase Three rescue package called the CARES Act, which is our next important step to help people weather the storm. It addresses the economic fallout of the coronavirus and our growing public health needs.

This rescue package will provide unprecedented levels of economic assistance for the American people who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus spread. This includes direct payment checks to individuals and families, four months unprecedented unemployment insurance benefits for workers who lose their jobs, and expanded loans to help employers large and small keep people on payroll instead of laying them off.

The CARES Act helps by ramping up the purchase of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns to help our physicians and nurses safely treat patients. It also speeds up the development of potentially life-saving antiviral therapies that will help treat the symptoms of this virus.

Most importantly, the bill accelerates the development of testing kits that we can quickly and reliably use on anyone who needs one, even if they aren't showing symptoms

To manage this health crisis in the long term, we must build on that expanded testing ability and work to track new cases in a unified mannerThe goal should be the American people can receive a daily public briefing from CDC leadership on the progression of the disease, with both a comparison to the previous day as well as a broader trend-line. As government officials and the public start to see the daily number of new cases decline, we can then begin to reopen the doors of our businesses and schools and start to get our economy back on track.

We can solve the economic challenges caused by this virus, but only if we are answering the health care challenges first. We are beginning to do that with better tracking and testing, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure we accomplish both goals and get back to normalcy.

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