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Rep. Robinson applauds passage, but questions GOP's costly delay of $2 billion in COVID-19 relief funds

Says GOP slow-walk of funding hurt Ohio workers and businesses
April 15, 2021
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) today applauded the House passage of a $2 billion package of coronavirus relief bills to deliver direct aid for schools, rent and utility assistance, childcare providers, bars and restaurants, lodging, and other industries facing economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic lawmakers also expressed concern over the months-long delay in the release of the funding, which they say slowed the state’s recovery.

“Although it did not happen as quickly as I would have hoped, I’m glad we could finally pass this needed relief for Ohioans,” said Rep. Robinson. “The pandemic has brought new hardships and struggles to Ohioans on top of the inequities many were already facing before COVID-19. I hope the Senate moves quickly to pass our package so we can next address the policies that have hindered Ohioans for many years prior to the pandemic.”

Funding for the package, House Bill (HB) 167, HB 168, HB 169, and HB 170, was included in the federal CARES Act which passed in March 2020, as well as the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, which passed in Dec. 2020.

Today on the House floor, Rep. Robinson spoke in support of HB 170.

“It is essential that we immediately distribute federal relief funds so teachers and schools can improve classroom safety, including sanitation and social distancing, meet student’s specific learning needs, and overcome the pandemic-related opportunity gaps,” added Rep. Robinson.

During the committee process, Democrats fought to expand stipend eligibility to allow more child care providers to qualify, helping smaller, family-run child care providers access critical funding during the pandemic.

Funding in the bills include:

  • $683.1 million for Federal Coronavirus School Relief.
  • $154.9 million emergency assistance funds to non-public schools.
  • $19 million of federal funds to county boards of developmental disabilities serving school-age students, educational service centers, and joint vocational school districts.
  • $465 million for emergency rental and utility assistance.
  • $100 million for federal disaster assistance
  • $299.9 million for grants to businesses and child care providers impacted by COVID-19, and for local fairs and Ohio Veterans Homes.
  • $135 million to provide grants to bars, restaurants, and lodging businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $173 million to the Department of Health for Public Health Emergency Response.
  • $8 million to the Adjutant General for coronavirus relief.