It's always a good day for some righteous anger from Ohio's Senator Sherrod Brown.
On the Senate Floor Tuesday, Sen. Brown pilloried his fellow Republican senators, especially Mitch McConnell, for refusing to extend the $600 per week additional assistance to Americans suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throwing the hypocrisy of such stinginess back into their faces, Brown pointed out that all of them earn $175,000 per year as U.S. Senators (guaranteed income for six years, mind you,) and also that it so happens most of them happen to be millionaires. Yet, these same millionaires on the GOP side deem $600 per week too much to grant those unemployed, and potentially ill, widowed, or orphaned as a result of the pandemic.
I'm not really sure how Mitch McConnell has spent his summer, but what I do know is that in May, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act. It helped local governments, it helped people stay in their homes so they wouldn't be evicted. It helped our public school system. It provided $600 a week to unemployed workers. The House did that in May. Now I don't know what Senator McConnell's done since then, through May, through June, through July, now into August.
Last week, Senator McConnell finally came up with a plan. Does NOTHING to extend the $600 a week. It does nothing to help keep people in their homes and pay those bills. The last thing we should want is a tidal wave of evictions, so that people go into crowded homeless shelters, or sleep in their cousin's basement because they don't have a place to live. That bill does NOTHING to help state and local governments. Their plan has ZERO dollars for communities, for Clark County, Ohio, or Clark County, Nevada. We know how hard their budgets have been hit. Ohio's governor has already announced $750 million in state budged cuts, including education and Medicaid. Counties and cities and towns are facing similar impossible choices.
We know with hundreds of thousands of Ohioans out of a job, if they don't get the $600 a week, it will mean more of them go into poverty. More of them have trouble feeding their families. More of them will go to homeless shelters. It will only get worse if we don't step in.
He went on to list the crucial services that won't receive funding if the GOP refuses to adequately support local governments financially in this bill. The list is long, and devastating. The problem is, Republicans — least of all, Mitch McConnell — couldn't care less if the working class suffers. As long as public schools and government services are seen as failing, the better their selfish argument for privatizing absolutely everything, and the more wingnut welfare can run wild and free, enriching them and their millionaire buddies.
At least, though, it won't happen without a fight from Sen. Brown.