September 30, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) joined his House colleagues to pass an updated, short-duration version of the Heroes Act that addresses the critical needs of the American people and reflects continued negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.
“Struggling San Diegans continue to contact my office as they battle the turmoil brought on by COVID-19. Americans need additional assistance now,” said Rep. Peters. “Families and businesses need help – this should not be a partisan decision. I pray that Republicans see this revised package as a sign that Democrats are eager to move forward and get people some relief. It's our duty and responsibility to come together and get this done.”
The $2.2 trillion package includes a few notable new provisions. It strengthens small business support, ensures the Paycheck Protection Program serves the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits, provides those hardest-hit with second loans and delivers targeted assistance for the stressed restaurant industry and independent live venue operators. It also extends the Payroll Support Program to protect airline industry workers who face mass layoffs and enhances education and child care resources, with $182 billion for K-12 schools, $39 billion for colleges and universities, and $57 billion to support child care for families.
The Updated Heroes Act also preserves many of the priorities from the original bill passed by the House in May:
- Offers $436 billion in aid to states, localities, territories and Tribes who desperately require funds to pay workers, such as first responders and health workers, in danger of losing their jobs.
- Allocates $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation measures so every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and hospitals and providers have what they need to combat this pandemic. An additional $28 billion is included for procurement, distribution and education campaigns for a safe, effective vaccine people can trust.
- Provides a second round of direct payments to Americans, with $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
- Improves the new employee retention tax credit that incentivizes employers to keep employees on the payroll.
- Directs OSHA to issue an enforceable standard that requires workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC guidelines to boost worker safety.
- Automatically grants unemployed Americans the maximum ACA subsidy on exchanges and adds a special enrollment period for those who are uninsured.
- Re-invests in the $600 enhanced unemployment payments through January 31, 2021, and provides additional support to those who have exhausted state unemployment benefits, adding a safety net for the record number of Americans who are unemployed, including those connected to the gig-economy.
- Outlines tens of billions of dollars in new assistance for renters and homeowners, as well as aid for mortgage, utility payments and other housing-related costs.
- Strengthens food security with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional support for nutrition programs to help families put food on the table.
- Issues protections to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census and the preservation of the United States Postal Service.
This is the sixth COVID-19 package the House has passed to provide relief to the American people. The original Heroes Act provided $3.4 trillion in comprehensive funding to alleviate the health crisis and financial burdens of the pandemic and has yet to be touched by the Senate. In April, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to replenish funds for fundamental federal assistance programs after they ran out of money. In addition to the CARES Act, passed in late March, the House wrote and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which took steps to strengthen Americans’ health care access and boosted financial security through paid sick leave and enhanced unemployment insurance. The House also passed an initial $8.3 billion emergency supplemental bill to help states, communities and federal agencies combat the spread of the virus in March.