Only on 19: White House on relief for Ohioans in massive coronavirus bill

Only on 19: White House on relief for Ohioans in massive coronavirus bill (2)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In the next few weeks, you could have more money in your pocket thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

The House will take a procedural vote Tuesday before moving to the final passage of the plan, which is expected Wednesday.

The massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package could be signed by President Joe Biden by the end of the week.

Investigator Sara Goldenberg spoke to the White House to find out how this will affect Ohioans who need it the most.

In an exclusive interview, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said they’re hopeful this package will be a “bridge for families in Cleveland.”

She also said this plan would speed up the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in our state.

The American Rescue Plan is designed to boost the economy in crisis as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Cleveland is the nation’s poorest big city; it’s number one when it comes to child poverty. How will this plan help families who need it the most?” Investigator Sara Goldenberg asked.

“The President believes economic assistance should be done from the bottom up, not the from the top down. And so, this plan will actually cut child poverty in half this year. It is the biggest investment in childcare, which is one of the hindrances in people going back to work, one of them, only one of them. But it will be the biggest investment in childcare since World War II,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

The Covid-19 relief package includes expanded child tax credits based on income, which could bring parents monthly payments of $250 per child or $300 for children under six years old.

The plan also continues federal unemployment benefits at $300 a week through September.

It sends $130 billion to education and schools, funding the reopening of schools and hiring of more teachers.

It marks $350 billion to cities and states.

You can read more on the original plan here.

“And most importantly, it’s going to get direct checks and direct relief in the form of $1,400, but for many families, much more than that very quickly, and we’re hopeful that will be a bridge for families in Cleveland,” Psaki said.

Billions in the plan will go to Covid-19 vaccines. Psaki said a lot of that money is headed to Ohio.

Here in Cleveland, a mass federal vaccination site is set to open at Cleveland State University next week.

A real challenge statewide has been making the vaccine accessible to everyone, whether they live in the city or rural areas.

19 News asked how the plan will address that issue.

“One size doesn’t fit all, as you well know. One way doesn’t work for people in Cleveland; one way doesn’t work for everybody in the country. So that’s why we’re taking a number of approaches, mobile vaccine centers, as you noted, that can go travel around to communities to make it even easier and more accessible,” Psaki said.

So far, Republicans have opposed the bill across the board, saying the package is too big with not enough going directly to Covid-19 relief.

Sen. Rob Portman (R- Ohio) voted against the bill over the weekend.

Portman put out a statement after the vote, saying in part:

“Our focus needs to be on policies that address the most immediate health care needs while incentivizing a return to work, so our economy continues to improve. While I am pleased the Senate adopted my amendment to responsibly extend enhanced unemployment insurance benefits in a bipartisan fashion, I am disappointed that it was not included in the final bill. The American people deserve better than this bill and better than this process. We worked together five times on bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages, and we should have been able to do so again. Doing so can begin to fulfill the promise our new president set out on inauguration day.”

Psaki said the majority of Americans support the plan, and President Biden looks forward to working with Sen. Portman moving forward.

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