It’s clear what a toll this pandemic is taking on Ohioans’ paychecks and family budgets. Even as we work to get our economy moving again as soon as it’s safe to do so, we know it is going to take a sustained response over many months to get everyone back on their feet.
The fastest and simplest way to help Ohio workers and families is to put money directly in people’s pockets. It helps people pay the bills, stay in their homes, and get through this downturn. It also injects money into local economies that desperately need it – the more money people have, the more they can spend at small businesses that are hurting right now.
That’s why I’m fighting for policies that put money in the pockets of working families in the next relief package.
First, we need another round of stimulus checks. The checks of up to $1,200 per person in the March bill were a good start, but my original plan called for bigger checks of $2,000 per person, both adults and children. We called for them to be sent automatically throughout the year, every quarter, until the economy stabilizes.
Second, we need to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Last week, I led a group of 39 Senators on a letter to Senate leaders of both parties demanding we cut taxes for workers and families. I also introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Cassidy that will help make sure working families’ EITC and CTC benefits don’t take a hit when they file next year, even if their wages took a hit this year.
Checks help people right now, and tax cuts for working families will give them reassurance that they will have sustained support into next year.
Finally, we need to give all essential workers on the front lines of this crisis Pandemic Premium Pay. If we are going to tell workers that they are essential to our country, and have to go to work during a public health emergency, then their paychecks should reflect that. My Heroes Fund proposal would help reward, retain and recruit essential workers with a pay increase of up to $25,000, equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour.
We need to put people first during this crisis, not Wall Street, not the biggest corporations that always manage to go to the front of the line. That means putting money directly in people’s pockets.
Sherrod Brown is a U.S. senator, representing Ohio.