Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/WClarke
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on Friday.
By Forum Staff
The House of Representatives on Friday voted to approve the Heroes Act, the fourth COVID-19 aid package passed in the last two months.
According to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), highlights of the Heroes Act include:
- More cash assistance to families and children.
- $200 billion to fund hazard pay for frontline workers, and defining this broad category of essential workers who have put their health and safety on the line to keep NY and the nation running.
- Expansion and increase in funding forSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and allowing the program to cover hot food purchases from retailers.
- Ability of immigrants who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to receive economic stimulus payments, and making these funds retroactive.
- Extension of work permits for immigrants, many of whom are serving as essential workers on the frontlines of combating the coronavirus pandemic.
- Inclusion of the Emergency Educational Connections Act, which Meng introduced,that would provide $1.5 billion for internet access for students who are doing remote learning.
- Nearly $200 billion to help struggling renters and homeowners pay their rent and mortgages to help them stay in their homes.
- Billions for COVID-19 testing and contract tracing, both critical components to combating the spread of the virus, and eventually re-opening our nation.
- More money to New York State and New York City – the nexus of this pandemic.
- Extensions of enhanced unemployment insurance through January 2021 to provide relief for those who are struggling after losing their jobs.
- Elimination of the 75/25 rule for the Paycheck Protection Program, and an increase in the flexibility of PPP loan usage from eight weeks to 24 weeks.
“This is an unprecedented moment in history and it requires an unprecedented response by Congress. I was proud to join my colleagues today to pass legislation that puts families and frontline workers first. As a representative of Queens, I have seen firsthand the pain and suffering the coronavirus has caused, and how many of my constituents are hurting and need help,” Meng said Friday night. “Given the scale and scope of this damage, we must address this crisis with measures that meet the gravity of this moment. The sobering statistics of this national health crisis paint a grim picture in our country: over 84,000 people have died, there are nearly 1.4 million confirmed cases, and over 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. People are hurting; they’re scared for their safety and their health. Many are worried about how to pay their rent or mortgage, and how to put food on the table. They need a lifeline, and the Heroes Act provides one.”
As of Wednesday morning, the Heroes Act was being considered in the Senate.
“As the novel coronavirus continues to harm the nation’s socio-economic health, the Heroes Act would invest desperately needed funding into existing programs and new initiatives to help those impacted by the pandemic,” Meng added. “The Senate must act and pass the Heroes Act swiftly.”