Ohio Senator Rob Portman addresses federal coronavirus relief bill

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Late Wednesday night the Senate passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. The House of Representatives passed the bill Friday afternoon and it now awaits signature from President Donald Trump.

During Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Friday press conference, Ohio Senator Rob Portman said the relief package will address all facets of the shutdown: businesses closing, unemployment, schools shutting down and especially healthcare systems in dire need of help.

“It does provide significant funding for our hospitals, our healthcare providers, and ensures that we are dealing with this pandemic in the appropriate way, which means more testing,” Portman said, adding $150 billion of the $2.2 trillion will be used to help develop a vaccine as soon as possible.

He said the pandemic is posing “unprecedented challenges,” which he says is a big reason why the Senate and House of Representatives passed the unprecedented legislation. Portman added the bill was a first step, but may not be the last.

“It may be enough, it may not,” Portman said. “We may have to come back and help even more, but at this point, many of our hospitals are suffering economically because they’re not doing elective surgeries, which tend to be a significant part of their revenue.”

Portman said keeping people at work was of vital importance in the bill and as was helping those who have lost their job through no fault of their own.

The bill also has $4.3 billion set aside for local and state health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control.

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