WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- As lawmakers in Washington focus on little other than stopping the spread of coronavirus, precautions are keeping them out of the public eye.
Both Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) praised the decision to postpone Ohio's primary. (Source: Gray DC)
Both Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) briefed reporters via teleconference Tuesday.
The Democrat and Republican are largely on the same page, at least when it comes to the big picture.
Both praised Ohio’s governor and lieutenant governor for taking drastic but necessary steps, including cancelling the primary, and suggested Congress needs to act decisively as well.
Portman opened his call by saying the coronavirus is jeopardizing lives and the economy. He says Congress needs to spend hundreds of billions of dollars as quickly as possible to provide a backstop for individuals and businesses.
"Economic packages we’re putting together, we will find out after the fact, we're not perfect. It wasn’t in 9/11 either, but, it was important to act in the aftermath of 9/11, just as it’s important to act in regards to this virus," said Portman.
While Portman says the current packages on the table don’t do enough for small businesses, Brown says the wallets of everyday workers need to come first.
"Whatever we do, there will be no bailouts without investing in the dignity of work. We need to pass a relief package that’s focused on keeping paychecks going for real people," said Brown.
While Brown praised bipartisan work at the state level, he criticized President Donald Trump for missing chance after chance to get ahead of this virus.
When asked about the president’s past misstatements and downplaying of risk posed by the coronavirus, Portman said he was impressed with Monday's response.
Both Senators say their offices are largely empty with staff working at home. Portman will propose allowing senators to cast votes remotely, so they can as well.
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