$2.2 trillion emergency legislation provides funding to protect American lives, livelihoods

House calls on Trump Administration, Senate to urgently act on behalf of nation’s health and economic well-being

Thursday, October 2, 2020-- Washington, D.C.— Last night, on October 1, 2020, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Representative Katherine Clark joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing an updated version of the Heroes Act, urgently needed pandemic relief legislation that would provide over $2.2 trillion in funding to respond to emergencies that have arisen since the House passed an earlier iteration in May that was blocked by Senate Republicans. The legislation is a comprehensive, science-based strategy to address the health and economic catastrophe induced by the pandemic and the White House’s mismanagement of the crisis.

“Contrary to what the President would have you believe, the pandemic isn’t over. This legislation is a critical step to help us stop the spread of the virus, protect the health of the American people, ensure the stability of state and local governments, small businesses and families, and save the child care industry,” said Congresswoman Clark. “Four months ago, the House passed the Heroes Act and for four months, the White House and Senate Republicans have refused to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and the pain being felt by American families. Their dithering and bad-faith proposals filled with corporate giveaways fail to meet the size and depth of the challenges we face. House Democrats will not sit on the sidelines while community businesses shutter and families wait in breadlines.”

The updated Heroes Act includes:

• State and Local Relief: $436 billion for one year’s worth of assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, including: $238 billion in state assistance, $179 billion in local assistance, $9.5 billion in tribal assistance, and $9.5 billion in territory assistance

• Child Care: $50 billion for Child Care Stabilization Grants; $7 billion in CCDBG; and $1.7 billion in Head Start

• Housing/Rental Assistance: $50 billion in emergency rental assistance $21 billion in homeowner assistance

• Elections: $3.6 billion to states for elections

• Postal Service: $15 billion for lost revenue

• COVID Response at HHS: $249 billion to support public health; research, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics; and other COVID related activities

• Student Loans: Extends the suspension of payments for federal student loans through September 30, 2021

• Small Business Relief: $50 billion in new funding, including:
o $15 billion in PPP funding for loans by community lenders;
o $8 billion in payment and interest relief on pre-COVID EIDL loans;
o $15 billion to create a Small business local relief program to give funding to state and local governments to provide grants to small businesses with 20 or fewer employees or 50 or fewer in low-income neighborhoods, through a network of community-based partners; and
o $10 billion to create an SBA grant program for independent live venue operators.

• Emergency leave: Extends the availability of Emergency Family and Medical Leave benefits from December 31, 2020 to February 28, 2021
o Ensures that workers are provided with a full 12 weeks of paid emergency FMLA leave and such leave does not count towards an employee’s 12 weeks of non-emergency unpaid FMLA leave
o Expands emergency paid family, medical, and sick leave benefits to millions of workers, including health care workers and first responders, by eliminating exemptions that prevented workers from accessing emergency paid leave during a pandemic
o Expands coverage to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and workers at businesses with 500 or more employees, as these were previously excluded
o Provides eligible workers two weeks of job-protected, emergency paid sick leave at full pay (up to $511 per day), and 12 weeks of job-protected, emergency paid family and medical leave at two-thirds of their regular pay (up to $200 a day).

• Unemployment: Restores the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement to all state and federal unemployment benefits starting the week of September 6 and ending January 31, 2021

• Direct payments: Includes second round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent, without a limit on dependent payments
o Allows households with dependents who are full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents to also receive the $500 amount
o Includes payments for individuals with a Taxpayer Identification Number

• Census: Provides $400 million for expenses due to delays in the 2020 Decennial Census in response to the coronavirus and delays publication of apportionment and state redistricting data by 120 days in order to ensure a fair and accurate count

• Airlines: Extends the PSP to keep airline industry workers employed ($25 billion to passenger airlines, $3 billion to airline contractors, and $300 million to cargo airlines)

• Homelessness Assistance: Provides $5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants

• Education: Provides $225 billion to support the educational needs of States, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to coronavirus, including:
o $208 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
o $175 billion for K-12
o $27 billion for public postsecondary education
o $4 billion for Governors to address educational needs across their States
o $2 billion for the outlying areas and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools and Tribal Colleges and Universities
o $5 billion for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Facilities Aid for grants to help ensure school buildings are set up to protect the health of students and staff, including through improvements to building ventilation systems
o $11.9 billion to Higher Education to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students