We passed the American Rescue Plan to get shots in people’s arms, money in families’ pockets, children back in schools, and workers back on the job. And the plan is already making a difference in Ohioans’ lives.

The best thing we can do to get shoppers back in stores and diners back in restaurants and kids back in classrooms again is to get all Ohioans vaccinated.

That’s what the rescue plan does. Our bill invests in a coordinated national vaccination plan, and uses the Defense Production Act to produce, purchase, and distribute vaccine components and other critical medical supplies. It also invests $160 million in 51 community health centers across Ohio, to ensure our vaccination effort reaches the most vulnerable communities.

We’re already seeing the results. Vaccinations are up dramatically – we’ve delivered 5 million shots in Ohioans’ arms, and nearly 2 million Ohioans are fully vaccinated. Because of the increase in vaccine supply and vaccination capacity, Ohio has been able to expand eligibility to everyone age 16 and up. This is how we will defeat this pandemic, so we can celebrate birthdays and holidays, and we can hug our grandparents and grandkids again.

The American Rescue Plan is also putting money directly in people’s pockets, with the expanded $1,400 stimulus checks we promised, and with tax cuts for workers and families, through the historic expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

We’re expanding the CTC to $3,000 per child, and $3,600 for a child under age six, and we’re expanding the EITC to make more workers eligible for a tax credit. These are two of the most effective tools we have to put money in people’s pockets and ensure hard work pays off. Nearly two million Ohio families are going to see more money in their pockets because of EITC and CTC, and 92 percent of Ohio kids are going to see a financial boost.

The rescue plan also includes direct flexible funding to state and local governments, based on my Direct Support for Communities Act, to help state and local communities prevent layoffs, service cuts, and tax hikes. My provisions ensure local funding goes directly to Ohio cities, towns, villages and counties. These local governments – not Columbus and Washington politicians – know their communities best, and they need the autonomy to decide how to best use this funding.

We know that our economy won’t be back on track until Ohio Main Streets – not just Wall Street – recover.

That’s why the Rescue Plan includes $50 billion in funding to help small businesses keep their doors open and get back on their feet, and additional support for programs that help small business owners better understand and navigate federal relief programs that are available to them. Last week the president also signed into law a deadline extension for Ohio small business owners that we helped secure – Ohioans now have until May 31st to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

This is the bold rescue plan we need to get us through the end of this pandemic, and build a strong economic recovery, with Ohio workers at the center.

Email comments to briank@northwestsignal.net

I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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