Congresswoman Beatty Heralds Updated Heroes Act, Votes to Put American Workers, Families, and Small Businesses First
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) voted today in support of an updated version of The Heroes Act, H.R. 925. Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15, 2020, the original Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, has been languishing in Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (KY) self-described ‘legislative graveyard’ for 139 days and counting—all the while American families and small businesses needlessly suffer due to Republican stinginess and lack of human compassion.
“Almost 20 weeks ago, House Democrats passed The Heroes Act: a big, bold, ‘For the People’ piece of legislation to provide another round of direct economic impact payments, extend emergency unemployment benefits, guarantee hazard pay for frontline workers, and make significant investments in state and local governments, food and rental assistance, COVID-19 testing, and contact tracing. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans and the White House have refused to come to the negotiation table in good faith since that time,” Beatty said. “It is obvious to everybody—except for Senator McConnell and the Trump Administration, apparently—that Congress must act immediately to further help struggling workers, families, small businesses, and our economy.” She continued, “So, today, I joined my Democratic colleagues to do just that, and I call on Congressional Republicans to do the same because the lives and livelihoods of all Americans are at stake.”
The $2.2 trillion updated version of The Heroes Act protects lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy. Highlights include:
- Provides additional direct payments, cushioning the economic blow of the COVID-19 crisis with a more robust second round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
- Restores emergency unemployment benefits, ensuring weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January and preventing unemployed workers from exhausting their eligibility.
- Strong support for small businesses, improving the Paycheck Protection Program to serve the smallest businesses and struggling nonprofits, providing hard-hit businesses with second loans, and delivering targeted assistance for the struggling restaurant industry
- Protects payrolls, enhancing the new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll.
- Bolsters housing assistance, helping struggling families afford a safe place to live with tens of billions in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage, utility payments, and other housing-related costs.
- Strengthens food security, addressing rising hunger with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.
- Preserves healthcare coverage, protecting Americans from losing their employer-provided health insurance by automatically granting unemployed Americans the maximum ACA subsidy on the exchanges, as well as providing a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for uninsured Americans.
- Supports testing, tracing, and treatment, through $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, with special attention to the disparities facing communities of color, ensuring every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and supporting hospitals and providers. The updated bill also includes $28 billion for procurement, distribution, and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine.
- More funds to bolster education and childcare, with $225 billion for education—including $182 billion for K-12 schools and nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education—and another $57 billion to support childcare for families
- Honors our heroes, investing $436 billion to provide one year’s worth of assistance to state, local, territorial, and tribal governments who desperately need funds to pay vital workers like first responders and healthcare professional who are keeping us safe yet are in danger of losing their jobs.
- Safeguards our democracy, with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the United States Postal Service operations.
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