HEROES ActThe new Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act, an 1800-page piece of legislation introduced on Wednesday, May 13th into the House is a $3 trillion wave of funding. The House voted on the Act Friday, May 15th. It passed the house with some changes and will now move on to the Senate. “The HEROES Act focuses on three pillars: opening our economy safely and soon, honoring our heroes and then putting much-needed money into the pockets of the American people,” House speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday.Here is how it all shakes out.
State and Local Support
- $1 trillion to state, local, territorial, and tribal governments who desperately need funds to pay vital workers.
- $100.15 billion in education funding for states, school districts, and institutes of higher education.
- $15 billion for highways.
- $15.75 billion for transit agency relief.
- $2 billion in CDC funds for state, local, territorial, and tribal public health departments.
- Repeal the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.
- $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to provide additional relief to hospitals and health care providers.
- 14% increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments to state Medicaid programs.
- $75 billion to support testing and contact tracing activities to monitor and suppress the virus.
- Special enrollment period for uninsured Americans to seek health insurance on the ACA.
- $7.6 billion for Health Centers through the Heath Resources and Services Administration.
- $4.7 billion for COVID-19 research at the National Institutes of Health.
- $2.1 billion for the Indian Health Service.
- $4.5 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for therapeutics and vaccines, manufacturing facilities, and innovation in antibacterial research.
- Eliminates cost sharing for Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured for COVID-19 treatment.
- Additional funding to combat COVID-19 fraud.
Worker Protections and Support to Individuals
- $200 billion “Heroes’ fund” to provide hazard pay to workers deemed essential.
- Second round of stimulus payments at $1,200 for qualified Americans, up to $6,000 per household.
- Extend the additional $600 per week for unemployment through January 31, 2021.
- Expand the CARES Act’s employee retention credit, increasing the credit from 50% to 80% of qualified wages and increasing the employee wage limit from $10,000 per year to $15,000 per quarter.
- Requires OSHA to issue an enforceable standard to require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise.
- $3.1 billion for workforce training at the Department of Labor.
- $175 billion to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs.
- Up to $10,000 student loan forgiveness.
- Expand the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include all nonprofits.
- $659 billion in additional funding for the PPP.
- $10 billion in additional funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).
Other Government Support
- $25 billion to assist the United States Postal Service.
- $410 million for the Census Bureau.
The HEROES Act is likely to move quickly through the House but will certainly stall out in the Senate. Although Republicans realize more help for the American people and American businesses is likely needed, many want to wait and see how the previous cash infusions affect the economy as states begin to slowly loosen the stay-at-home restrictions. There will be much back and forth discussion and revisions that take place before we see this piece of legislation actually move forward and Americans feel it’s benefits.