What the HEROES Act will provide
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned that the U.S. economy "could become stuck in a painful multiyear recession if Congress and the White House do not authorize more aid to address the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout." Read the Washington Post article »
As Politico reported on June 4, 2020:
- “More K–12 public education jobs were lost in April than in all of the Great Recession,” the Economic Policy Institute wrote. “And that’s before any austerity measures from lost state and local revenue have been put in place.”
- Half of the job losses in K–12 public education between March and April were among special education teachers, tutors and teaching assistants, Gould said. Other significant job losses occurred among counselors, nurses, janitors, and other building maintenance workers.
What's in the bill?
- More money for education
As U.S. News & World Report reported, "Schools Face Nightmare Scenario After Coronavirus Crisis." The legislation includes $90 billion for state fiscal stabilization grants to states to support elementary and secondary schools and public post-secondary institutions and $10 billion in relief for colleges and students.
- Aid to state and local government
HEROES provides more than a trillion dollars to state and local governments. That includes $540 billion to states, territories and tribes, $375 billion to municipal, county and other local governments, $100 billion for education, a temporary additional 14% Medicaid match that would bring $50 billion more for that important program, and the ability of public employers to participate in the Employee Retention tax credit.
- Continued support for healthcare providers and COVID-19 mitigation
The legislation includes $175 billion to reimburse healthcare providers in an expanded version of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund from CARES, $75 billion of which goes to state and local health departments for testing, contact tracing and isolation. The bill requires the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to coordinate with state, local, tribal and territorial health departments to implement a national evidence-based system for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation of COVID-19. Also it establishes a coordinator for the national supply chain.
- OSHA emergency temporary and permanent standards
The bill requires OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard within seven days of enactment to protect healthcare and other workers at occupational risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Additional protections for workers and communities
HEROES provides funds for hazard pay for frontline workers, supports for nine months of COBRA, provides that uninsured who are newly covered through Medicaid will be able to receive free treatment, extends unemployment benefits, increases support for nutritional assistance, provides that workers who are immigrants can participate in the benefits of the bill and helps with student debt.
- It includes $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to compensate for foregone revenue and repeals restrictions on $10 billion in borrowing authority provided in the CARES Act.
- It increases the federal Medicaid matching rate by 14% through June 30, 2021.
- It includes $850 million in funding to states for family and child care for essential workers, defined to include health care workers, emergency response workers, sanitation workers, workers at businesses ordered to stay open, and other workers who cannot telework or whom state or local governments deem essential.
- It cushions the economic blow of COVID-19 with a second round of more substantial economic impact payments of $1,200 per family member, up to $6,000 per household.
- It extends weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January, providing a vital safety net for the record number of Americans who are unemployed.
- It provides a 100% COBRA subsidy through Jan. 31, 2021.
- It includes $100 billion in emergency assistance for low-income renters and $75 billion in grants to states to address the needs of struggling homeowners.
- It addresses rising hunger by increasing the maximum SNAP benefits by 15% and additional funding for nutrition programs to help families put food on the table.