Portman Working for Ohio During Coronavirus Crisis

April 8, 2020 | Portman Difference

The coronavirus crisis has impacted the lives of all Ohioans. That’s why Senator Portman has been made it a priority to communicate with constituents through tele town halls and Facebook about the work he has done with the state and federal government, as well as with Ohio companies and stakeholders throughout the state to ensure Ohio has the resources it needs to respond to this unprecedented health crisis and can contribute to the national effort to slow the spread of the virus. 

Here are some of the key priorities Portman has been working on during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: 

Support for Ohioans: 

  • Portman helped break through bureaucratic red tape that was preventing UC Health in Cincinnati from getting a critical cobas 6800 testing device. With this device, UC Health will now be able to process more than 1000 diagnostic tests per day in southwest Ohio, filling a key testing gap in the state;
  • Portman worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure an extension for filing of claims and appeals for veterans’ compensation benefits was put in place since VA offices have been closed due to the pandemic;
  • Portman worked to help get Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's major disaster declaration request approved quickly by President Trump, unlocking additional Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance and funding for Ohio;
  • We successfully helped stop the Bureau of Prisons from sending new prisoners to the Elkton Federal Prison as the Ohio National Guard works to provide medical assistance to the staff and prisoners dealing with the coronavirus outbreak there, and;
  • Portman helped secure swift approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to operate the Disaster Household Distribution Program in Ohio. This will allow ODJFS to efficiently and safely provide meals to foodbanks and Ohio families in need.  

Helping the National Response: 

  • Portman facilitated a donation by Dublin-based Cardinal Health of 2.2 million non-surgical gowns to the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile so they can be distributed to health care centers in coronavirus hotspots around the country;
  • Portman encouraged U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer to implement key tariff exclusions necessary for Gojo in Akron to be able to distribute larger quantities of Purell hand sanitizer, a key tool in slowing the spread of the virus, and;
  • Portman worked to get Columbus-based Battelle approved by the FDA to sterilize protective facemasks to help address the supply shortage that our health care professionals on the frontlines are facing. 

Portman has been releasing policy summaries about how the CARES Act will help Ohio during the coronavirus crisis including how it will help individuals and families, small businesses, hospitals, veterans, seniors, and rural communities. He will continue to work to ensure Ohioans get the support they need for the duration of this pandemic and that our state can continue to be a leader in the national response to this health care crisis.