WASHINGTON — In Washington, there is an agreement the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package may not have been all that was wanted but all that was in it was desperately needed.
"This package is way too late and not nearly big enough to address the big challenges that we have that our families have,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “But we had to do something we had to get something out the door and while it doesn't meet the moment it is significant for so many families.”
Senator Rob Portman sees this as a necessary bridge to get the country from where we are now over to a point where we have vaccine distribution.
"We got a period here where the crisis is getting worse and that's been true in Ohio as well as around the country but also the economy is starting to take more of a hits,” Portman said. “I think this is a necessary shot in the arm so to speak to get us to that period."
It adds another $300 a week to Federal unemployment benefits, provides nearly $300 billion in aid for small businesses, $8.75 billion for distributing the vaccine, and $25 billion for rental assistance to help.
Senator Sherrod Brown said ease what would be a wave of evictions.
"We know that 25% of renters, prior to the pandemic, in this country pay more than half of their incomes in rent and if one thing goes wrong in their lives then they're on the street," said Brown.
Under the plan, there will be that one-time payment of $600 to individuals making up to $75,000, that's the big number on your tax return before your taxes and deductions.
Some though who received partial checks in the spring may not this time.
That's because the $600 goes down $50 for every $1,000 you made over $75,000 so if you made over 87,000 you'll get nothing a threshold that in the spring was 99,000.
The relief package also addressed an issue long highlighted by News 5 investigators in our series Diagnosis Debt, by getting rid of surprise medical billing. Patients hit with unexpected often massive bills usually for out-of-network care.
"We prohibited that from happening to make the insurance companies deal with one another,” said Brown. “So that it's their problem, not the patient who had no idea this was going on."