Ryan Proposes Monthly Payments to Citizens during Outbreak

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate sparred over details of a $2 trillion stimulus package to address the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan discussed a plan to put up to $18,000 into the hands of families during the next six months.  

The plan, which Ryan, D-13 Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-17 Calif., announced March 13, would provide monthly payments of $1,000 for each individual earning up to $130,000, and $500 per child up to two children per family, for six months. 

A family of two parents and two or more children would receive $3,000 per month for six months, or $18,000, under the plan, with the ability for Congress to renew the plan for an additional six months. 

“We’re nowhere near the end of this. We’re really at the beginning of what changes we’re going to face both on the public health and on the economic side,” Ryan said Monday morning. “We want to make sure that this money gets out, it’s stable, that families don’t have to worry for the next six months, and then we can revisit in the late summer and see if we need to keep going with it.”

No one was discussing cash payments in a stimulus package when Ryan and Khanna made their proposal, then U.S. senators, including Mitt Romney of Utah, announced their support for one-time payments. Even before the outbreak, the country was facing a mental health crisis, which Ryan expects to only increase as the nation copes with the health, economic and other consequences of the outbreak. 

He does not have Senate support for this proposal but has made calls. “Hopefully we’ll get some movement on it,” he said. 

Along with the cash infusion, which Ryan said would take at least two weeks to get out to the public, he also is advocating for delaying payments for student loans, auto loans and mortgages for 60 to 90 days to let people “get their footing,” he said   

Ryan criticized the plan being discussed by the Senate – which Democrats in the chamber blocked Monday afternoon, after Ryan’s livestreamed news conference – for its emphasis on assisting big business. The proposal contained what he described as a “$500 billion slush fund” for corporations with little oversight. 

Corporations were criticized for using the proceeds of tax cuts in recent years to purchase their own stock and reward executives. Ryan and Khanna are “trying to drive a conversation” around not making the same mistakes and instead making sure “we take care of business for the American people who need cash,” Ryan said. 

“Over and over, it’s the same story. In a crisis, people in this town move heaven and earth to help Wall Street, to help corporate CEOs. Workers are always an afterthought,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a news release after voting against the legislation. “We have bailouts and handouts for corporations – but workers are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, to take personal responsibility. The American people will not stand for it.”

Large corporations have “numerous ways to be able to reorganize” and can “for the most part take care of themselves,” Ryan said.  

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a post on Twitter that he was “deeply disappointed” by Democrats’ opposition to the package. 

Senate Democrats helped negotiate the package through four bipartisan task forces and it includes several of their priorities, he said. Health-care professionals, small businesses and workers “need the support now – today,” he said. “Let’s get it done.”  

Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken blasted Senate Democrats in general – and Brown in particular – for their votes against the stimulus package, which “disgraced the American people,” she said. 

“Sen. Brown must be rooting for a recession because there is no logical reason as to why he would deny Ohioans access to this much-needed financial relief. Democrats have proven once again they are only interested in playing partisan politics, even in the midst of a global pandemic,” she said. 

Following Congress’ passage last week of a bipartisan funding package to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts across the country, Ryan and the two senators joined 10 colleagues from the Ohio delegation to ensure that this funding is made immediately available for the research, development and review of products and treatments to help people suffering from COVID-19-related complications, as well as to prioritize U.S. based manufacturing of any therapies identified 

“The sooner we can develop effective treatment options for those most vulnerable to these complications – including the elderly, the infirmed, those who are immunocompromised, and others – the sooner we can curb the death rate associated with COVID-19,” the legislators wrote. 

“As Congressional representatives for the State of Ohio, we’ve seen first-hand what our Ohio-based biopharmaceutical sector and manufacturing can accomplish, and we look forward to working with you to ensure that the federal government is effectively leveraging resources and partners both in Ohio and across the country that are ready to step up and address COVID-19 and its related complications,” they continued. 

Pictured: A woman walks her dog, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Pepper Pike, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.