Portman Pushing Wait-And-See Approach On Coronavirus Relief For State And Local Governments

COLUMBUS — The layoffs have already begun across Ohio, as local governments are forced to furlough workers because of coronavirus budget cuts — but Sen. Rob Portman is opposing the House-passed HEROES Act, which would provide vital funding for state and local governments to help them prevent laying off firefighters, police officers and other essential workers.

“House Democrats showed bold leadership to protect Americans’ lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy in passing the HEROES Act, while Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Rob Portman would rather let states go bankrupt, children go hungry and firefighters and police officers lose their jobs,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Thousands of government workers have already lost their jobs, and local leaders are warning the next round of cuts will severely impact public safety, but Rob Portman thinks we should just wait and see how everything pans out.

“In March, Portman went on television and slammed his Democratic colleagues who were fighting for ‘more money for states and localities [and] hospitals’ to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Democratic lawmakers kept fighting and eventually got more resources for hospitals and testing, and then Portman tried to claim credit for it. In April, Portman bragged that he was working to get more funding for local governments in the next coronavirus bill, but now he says, ‘We have to see how the current rescue package has worked first.’ All Rob has to do is talk to Ohio mayors and school superintendents and county commissioners to find out they need help and they need it now. Rob and Mitch McConnell would rather play political games with people’s lives.”