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house Bill H.R. 6800

House Democrats’ $3 Trillion Bill to Provide Economic Stimulus, Unemployment Benefits, Election Reforms, Plus Aid to State & Local Gov’ts

Argument in favor

This bold package reflects the priorities of House Democrats by providing additional economic stimulus to working people across the country, rewarding essential workers with hazard pay, extending unemployment benefits, helping state & local governments deal with shortfalls from the pandemic, and reforming elections to ensure they can be held safely in the future. At a minimum, it demonstrates Democrats’ priorities and will give them leverage for including them in a future coronavirus relief package that becomes law.

jimK's Opinion
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05/15/2020
In general, I am gratified that such a comprehensive and well thought out bill has been developed. I really like the details that anticipate clear needs to keep people safe, rewarding those that are needed to provide essential services and giving them and others who can safely get back to work much needed child care support. I would not expect that all of the piece parts will survive trumpublican efforts to assure funding for their self-serving interests and their diversion of newly acquired federal debt to directly and indirectly line their pockets. However, I really like the House Bill’s comprehensive and detailed focus on the needs of the people and the life support needed to get them through at least the great orange plague pandemic to force a trumpublican party slow demise starting in November and ending in January. Hopefully enough of the House Bill will be left to keep people safe from the medical and economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic as well, to bring the spread clearly under control.
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Ann's Opinion
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05/15/2020
Anyone who took the stimulus check is a socialist. Social security and Medicare are socialist. The list goes on and on; police, fire, roads, etc. I wish folks actually knew what the word means before tossing it out. We are a democratic socialist society.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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05/15/2020
Wisconsin’s stupid disenfranchisement stunt proved that physically going to the polls is a great way to get COVID. VOTE BY MAIL!!! It is a better system on all counts.
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Argument opposed

By considering this bill, House Democrats have wasted valuable floor time on a $3 trillion partisan wish list that has no chance of becoming law instead of working to draft something in a bipartisan fashion. Things like permanent federal election reforms, marijuana industry diversity studies, and tax cuts for the wealthy in high-tax states have no business being included in a pandemic recovery package. It’s an insult to the millions of Americans put out of work by the pandemic to send recovery checks to unauthorized immigrants & give them a temporary work authorization.

MAGA13's Opinion
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05/16/2020
Clean it up and take the politics out of it. Election reform, tax breaks for the wealthy and marijuana studies have no place in this act.
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Peanut's Opinion
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05/15/2020
All Democrats are dirty socialist pigs. Don’t support them in any capacity and don’t listen to their economic tyranny to keep the country shut down. ObamaGate is real. Democrats are done in 2020.
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RAN's Opinion
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05/15/2020
No! This bill need to be DOA! Bailouts for states that spent themselves into a hole, like Illinois. Illinois should suffer the consequences of their stupidity over the many years. So should other states like California, New York etc. it’s not the rest of the countries fault they were not prepared and spent on foolish programs. We shouldn’t be paying illegals, we should be deporting them! There is a pay raise for congress in this stupid bill, they don’t need a pay raise they need a massive cut in pay, minimum 50%! Also they want to bring in more foreigners with green cards for our medical care system, when there are massive layoffs for nurses and doctors right now! These politicians are evil! Open the states and stop this stupidity! JB Pritzker, mandate all you want we down state are going back to normal and not the so called new normal! If people didn’t live on top each other in big cities, things like wuhan virus wouldn’t spread so fast!
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What is House Bill H.R. 6800?

This bill — known as The Heroes Act (or the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) — would provide more than $3 trillion in funding to agencies at all levels of government, individuals, and businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It would enact another round of stimulus payments to eligible residents as under the CARES Act with reforms to broaden eligibility for such payments; extend enhanced unemployment benefits through January 2021; establish a “Heroes Fund” to provide pandemic premium pay to essential workers if employers opt in; and require states to provide two weeks of early voting, vote-by-mail, plus allow voter registration online & on the same day as a person votes starting with the November 2020 election. A breakdown of the 1,815 page bill’s various provisions can be found below.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS

Recovery Rebates: This section would authorize an additional Economic Impact Payment totaling up to $1,200 for individual U.S. residents ($2,400 for married joint filers) who aren’t dependents and have a Social Security number. Those amounts would increase by $500 for each dependent. 

There would be no phase-in, so Americans with no income and those whose income stems entirely from a non-taxable, means-tested benefits program (like Social Security) would be eligible for the full rebate check. Payments would be reduced for higher income taxpayers and begin phasing out at $75,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI) for individual taxpayers & $150,000 AGI for married filers. The recovery rebate amount would be reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold; and it would phase out entirely for single taxpayers with incomes over $99,000 & married filers with AGI exceeding $198,000. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would base these AGI amounts on the taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if it’s been filed, or on their 2018 tax return if not.

There would be some changes made to the recovery rebate program relative to CARES Act, including:

  • All dependents eligible for the $500 Economic Impact Payment that was previously limited to children under the age of 17 by the CARES Act, so adults with adult dependents or full-time students under age 24 would be able to receive the $500 amount.

  • Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) could be provided to individuals who provide a Taxpayer Identification Number, not just to people with Social Security numbers as required under the CARES Act. This would allow certain unauthorized immigrants who are ineligible to obtain a Social Security number to receive EIPs.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): Eligibility for the EITC would be expanded, with the minimum age for a childless recipient lowered from 25 to 19 (except for full-time students) and the upper age limit raised from 65 to 66. The childless EITC amount and its phaseout would both be increased, effectively increasing the maximum credit amount from $538 to $1,487.

Child Tax Credit (CTC): The CTC would be fully refundable for 2020 and the amount would be increased to $3,000 per child (& $3,600 for a child under age 6), and 17 year olds would be considered qualifying children.

State & Local Tax Deduction (SALT): The $10,000 cap on the state & local tax deduction would be eliminated for the 2020 & 2021 tax years.

Benefit & Tax Changes: Carryovers would be increased and allowed for cafeteria plans, health flexible spending arrangements, dependent care flexible spending arrangements, paid time off, FSA & cafeteria plan election amounts, and grace periods for the aforementioned benefits. 

Above-the-line deductions for elementary & secondary teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses would be doubled from $250 to $500; and professional first responders would be provided a $500 above-the-line deduction for unreimbursed expenses related to uniforms, or tuition & fees related to training. A temporary $500 above-the-line deduction would be created for supplies & equipment of first responders & COVID-19 frontline workers.

A 30% refundable payroll tax credit for expenses reimbursed or paid for the benefit of an employee for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit percentage would be increased to 50% for expenses paid to employees if a substantial portion of the services they perform is essential work, as defined for pandemic premium pay reimbursable from the COVID-19 Heroes Fund.

Tax Credits to Prevent Business Interruption: The applicable percentage of qualified wages reimbursed through the employee retention credit would rise from 50% to 80%, and the limit on wages taken into account would increase from $10,000 per year to $15,000 per quarter (limited to $45,000 per year). Additional changes & relief would include: 

  • A 50% refundable payroll tax credit would be provided for fixed expenses of employers subject to closure because of COVID-19, such as rent obligations, mortgage obligations, and utility payments. This credit would only be available to employers with no more than 1,500 full-time employees and no more than $41.5 million in gross receipts in 2019. Employers would have to be subject to a full or partial suspension due to a COVID-19 government order or have a gross decline in receipts of at least 20% compared to the same calendar quarter in the preceding year.

  • A 90% refundable individual income tax credit would be provided for self-employed individuals who have experienced a significant loss of income (greater than 10% from 2019 to 2020). The amount of qualified self-employed income taken into account would be capped at $45,000; and the credit would phase out starting at $60,000 of adjusted gross income at a rate of $50 for every $100 of income.

  • Refundable payroll tax credits for paid sick & family leave would be extended through the end of 2021, and the limitation on credits for paid family leave would be increased from $10,000 to $12,000. The credit could be claimed by individuals for up to a maximum of 60 days. These credits wouldn’t be allowed for employers with 500 or more employees (except for federal, state, & local governments).

  • Businesses receiving Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness would be allowed to defer payment of payroll taxes.

  • The limitation on excess business losses of non-corporate taxpayers would be restored and made permanent. This provision was suspended by the CARES Act for tax years beginning in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Taxpayers with net operating losses arising in tax years beginning in 2018 could carryback those net operating losses if they don’t engage in excessive executive compensation or excessive stock buybacks & dividends from those carrybacks.

COVID HEROES FUND

Pandemic Premium Fund: This section would require employers that apply for & receive grants to pay essential workers $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages for work performed in-person where there is regular interfacing with others, items handled by others, or social distancing isn’t practical. Essential workers would be eligible to receive up to $10,000 premium pay for work from January 27, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (“highly compensated” essential workers earning above $200,000 would be eligible for up to $5,000). If an essential worker develops COVID-19 and dies, the worker’s next of kin would receive the remainder of the premium pay as a lump sum. The Treasury Secretary would establish the $190 billion COVID-19 Heroes Fund to administer grants to employers who choose to apply for the pandemic premium pay grants for essential workers.

Federal employees — except for political appointees, members of Congress, and congressional staff — who have regular or routine contact with the public or work at sites where social distancing isn’t possible would also be eligible for pandemic premium pay. A total of $10 billion would be appropriated to fund pandemic premium pay for these workers.

UNEMPLOYMENT

The $600 per week federal supplement of unemployment benefits would be extended through January 31, 2021, with a “soft cutoff” to allow individuals already receiving regular state unemployment benefits at that time to continue to receive the supplement until March 31, 2021. Under the CARES Act, recipients could receive the supplement for up to four months. 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit to workers who don’t qualify for regular unemployment compensation would also be extended through January 31, 2021, and allow them to receive benefits through March 31, 2021. The federal 100% reimbursement of short-time compensation payments made under state law would be extended through January 31, 2021, while the 50% reimbursement of short-time compensation not made under state law would be extended through the same date.

States that lack funds to pay out unemployment claims can continue to receive interest-free loans from the federal government through June 30, 2021, instead of only through December 31, 2020.

HEALTH PROVISIONS

Contact Tracing: The CDC would be required to award grants state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments to carry out systems for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation of COVID-19, including guidance on voluntary isolation & quarantine of positive cases. A total of $75 billion would be authorized for these efforts.

Data Tracking: Every laboratory that performs or analyzes COVID-19 tests would be required to submit daily reports to the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would be made available to the public in a searchable, electronic format. HHS would establish an online reporting portal for healthcare providers to track and transmit data about their inventory & capacity related to COVID-19 on a biweekly basis. HHS would be required to update & make public a report on the collection of data on race, ethnicity, age, sex, and gender of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19.

Medicaid: The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments to state Medicaid programs would be increased by a total of 14% from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Federal payments to state Medicaid programs for home & community based services would increase by 10% during that period. Cost-sharing for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving COVID-19 treatment and vaccines would be eliminated during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Medicare: Beneficiaries would have zero cost-sharing or out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 treatment under Medicare Parts A & B, or prescriptions under Medicare Advantage during the public health emergency. Skilled nursing facilities would be required to provide a means for residents to conduct “televisitation” with loved ones while in-person visits aren’t possible during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Private Insurance: A two month special enrollment period through Affordable Care Act exchanges would be established to allow uninsured individuals to enroll in insurance plans. Ordinarily, the exchanges can only be accessed during open enrollment or because the would-be enrollee had a qualifying life event (like losing their job & employer-provided coverage). COVID-19 related treatment would have to be covered with no cost sharing to the patient.

Other Domestic Health Provisions

  • COVID-19 related treatment would be covered with no cost sharing for federal civilians, veterans, and people enrolled in TRICARE.

  • The president would be required to appoint a Medical Supplies Response Coordinator to serve as the point of contact for the healthcare system, supply chain officials, and states on medical supplies such as PPE, medical devices, drugs, and vaccines.

  • The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) would be authorized to destroy counterfeit devices, and would be able to enforce a requirement that drug manufacturers develop a risk management plan.

  • HHS would be required to award contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and enter into other transactions as appropriate to expand & enhance manufacturing capacity of vaccines & vaccine candidates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • HHS would be required to update the COVID-19 strategic testing plan under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act no later than June 15, 2020, by identifying types and levels of testing necessary to control COVID-19 and inform reductions of social distancing. 

Global Health:

  • The State Dept. would be required to produce an after-action report on efforts to repatriate Americans back to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also submit a mitigation plan to assist federal voters overseas in conjunction with the Defense Dept.

  • The president would be required to establish a U.S. Global Health Security Coordinator, which was formerly a National Security Council position that was eliminated in 2018.

  • The U.S. would be authorized to participate in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is a consortium that develops vaccines for high priority epidemic threats.

ELECTION REFORMS

This section would require states & jurisdictions to establish federal election contingency plans in response to natural disasters & emergencies, and update those plans at least every five years. Those plans would include initiatives to provide equipment and resources necessary to protect the health & safety of poll workers & voters and to recruit poll workers from resilient & unaffected populations. The Attorney General would be permitted to bring a civil action in federal court as necessary to carry out the requirements of this section and permit a private right of action.

Early Voting: At least 15 consecutive days of early voting would be required for federal elections beginning with the November 2020 federal election and all successive elections. Early voting would have to be at least 10 hours each day and allow for voting prior to 9:00am and after 5:00pm, and polling places with early voting would have to be within walking distance of a stop on a public transportation route and be available in rural areas of the state. States would be required to begin processing & scanning ballots cast during the early voting period at least 14 days prior to election day.

Vote-by-Mail: Access to no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail would be required for all voters beginning with the November 2020 federal election. States would be prohibited from imposing additional conditions or requirements for eligibility to vote by absentee ballot on people who are already eligible voters. States would be prohibited from requiring any form of identification to obtain an absentee ballot, although requiring a signed affirmation of identity would be permitted. States would be prohibited from requiring notarization or witness signatures to obtain or to cast an absentee ballot. Voters could opt-in to voting permanently by absentee ballot by mail in their absentee voting applications, which could be submitted online. States would be required to establish an absentee ballot tracking program, and ensure that ballots and related voting materials are accessible to voters with disabilities.

Voter Registration: States would be required to establish online voter registration with technological security measures to protect information provided through online voter registration services. States would also be required to ensure all eligible individuals can register to vote on the same day that they vote in November 2020, and couldn’t require registration applicants to provide more than the last four digits of their social security numbers.

Additionally:

  • The Election Assistance Commission would be required to make payments to eligible states or political parties for the purpose of complying with these requirements.

  • $20 million would be provided for states to conduct risk-limiting audits with respect to general elections.

APPROPRIATIONS

This section would provide additional funding for COVID-19 relief to a variety of federal agencies and programs.

Financial Services & General Gov’t:

  • Fiscal Relief for Government: $500 billion to assist state governments with the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; $375 billion to assist local governments; $20 billion to assist tribal governments; and $20 billion to assist territories.

  • Fiscal relief to states, localities, tribes, and territories could only be used to respond to, mitigate, cover costs, or replace foregone revenues not projected on January 31, 2020, stemming from the pandemic or its negative economic impacts. If the Treasury Dept.’s inspector general determines funds were used for other purposes, the amount used in violation by that entity would be booked as a debt owed to the federal government.

  • $75 billion would be provided to states, territories, and tribes to address the needs of homeowners by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

  • $25 billion would be provided to the U.S. Postal Service for revenue foregone due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased protections for Postal workers & an additional $15 million for the Postal Service Inspector General to conduct oversight.

  • $10 billion in grants would be provided to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the pandemic.

  • $3.6 billion in grants would be provided to states for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of federal elections.

Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies:

  • Public Health & Social Services Emergency Fund: $175 billion would be added to the fund to reimburse for healthcare related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to support contact tracing & COVID-19 monitoring & suppression.

  • Dept. of Education: $100.15 billion would be provided to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to the pandemic. It would include a $90 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to support state & local funding for elementary and secondary schools & public postsecondary institutions.

  • Administration for Children & Families: $10.1 billion would be provided for supportive & social services for families & children.

  • Health Resources & Services Administration: $7.6 billion would be provided to support expanded healthcare services for underserved populations.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $4.745 billion to expand COVID-19-related research on the NIH campus and at academic institutions across the country and to support the shutdown & startup costs of biomedical research laboratories nationwide.

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): $2.1 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.

  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA): $3.5 billion would be provided for development of therapeutics and vaccines.

Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, & Related Agencies:

  • Emergency Rental Assistance: $100 billion to provide emergency assistance to help low-income renters at risk of homelessness avoid eviction due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Transit Emergency Relief: $15.75 billion for operating assistance grants to support the transit agencies that require significant additional assistance to maintain basic transit services.

  • Highways: $15 billion for grants to support ongoing work of state, tribal, territorial, transportation departments (& certain local governments) to mitigate the effects of coronavirus.

  • Homeless Assistance Grants: $11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the impact of coronavirus among individuals & families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

  • Rental Assistance: $4 billion for public housing agencies to provide tenant-based rental assistance.

Agriculture:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): $10 billion to support anticipated increases in participation & to cover program costs increases related to flexibilities provided to SNAP by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • Child Nutrition Programs: $3 billion to provide emergency financial relief to school meal providers and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program.

  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children: $1.1 billion to provide access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies:

  • Indian Health Service: $2.1 billion to address healthcare needs for Native Americans, including $1 billion for lost third party revenues as a result of reduced medical care, $500 million for the provision of healthcare, and at least $366 million to provide isolation & quarantine space.

  • Dept. of the Interior: $1 billion for building hospitals & critical infrastructure.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts & the National Endowment for the Humanities would each receive $10 million in grants to support the general operations of recipients.

Justice:

  • Pandemic Justice Response Act Grants: A total of $600 million, including $500 million to prevent, detect, and stop the presence of COVID-19 in correctional institutions & for pre-trial citation & release grants; $25 million for rapid COVID-19 testing and correctional institutions; and $75 million for juvenile services.

  • Byrne Justice Assistance Grants: $300 million to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic, including for personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases & controlling outbreaks at prisons.

  • Second Chance Act Grants: $250 million to help facilitate the reintegration of ex-prisoners back into society & to prevent recidivism.

  • Violence Against Women Act Programs: $100 million would be provided with a waiver of the local match requirement, including $30 million for grants to combat violence against women, $15 million for transitional housing assistance, $15 million for sexual assault victims, and $10 million for rural domestic violence & child abuse enforcement assistance.

SMALL BUSINESS

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Several changes would be made to the PPP, including:

  • The covered period for loan forgiveness would be extended from June 30th to December 31st.

  • The 75/25 rule on use of loan proceeds for payroll/overhead would be eliminated.

  • Hospitals in bankruptcy could qualify for PPP loans because of the essential nature of their operations.

  • Small, local news broadcast entities would be eligible.

  • Nonprofits of all sizes would be eligible except for those which make political contributions.

  • A minimum maturity of five years would be established on PPP loans.

  • Borrowers previously deemed ineligible because of a prior criminal history would be eligible.

  • The Small Business Administration’s traditional 7(a) lending authority would be bifurcated from its PPP authority to certify the 7(a) lending program continues after PPP appropriations run out.

ACCOUNTABILITY & GOV’T OPERATIONS

Oversight: The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) created by the CARES Act would be provided with greater flexibility in choosing a committee chair. The president would be required to inform Congress of the reasons for not filling a vacant inspector general position for more than 210 days. Inspectors general could only be removed for specified causes including permanent incapacity, inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, conviction a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude, knowing violation of a law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, or abuse of authority.

Census: The publication of apportionment & state redistricting data would be delayed by 120 days due to the postponement of major census operations because of COVID-19. The Census would be able to access information from institutions of higher education about students living on campuses to ensure it gets an accurate count of students, and schools would give students 10 days of public notice and an opportunity to opt-out.

Federal Workers & Contractors: Agency leaders would be required to allow telework for all eligible federal employees and contractors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Miscellaneous:

  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis would be required to include an estimate of the impact on each decile of income and the highest 1% of income.

  • Restrictions on the $10 billion USPS borrowing authority increase would be repealed.

AGRICULTURE & NUTRITION

A total of $16.5 billion in funding would be provided to make direct payments to agricultural producers. Support would also be provided for renewable fuels and cotton textile mills.

Livestock producers would be paid for their animals by requiring dealer trusts for the benefit of all unpaid cash sellers of livestock. Producers who are forced to euthanize market-ready livestock due to local processing plant disruptions caused by COVID-19 would receive emergency assistance.

A direct dairy donation program would be established to prevent dumped milk and facilitate rapid donations of displaced dairy products directly to feeding programs, and reimburse at current Class I prices. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) benefit level would be increased, with the minimum benefit increased to $30 per month. The USDA would be directed to allow the use of SNAP to purchase hot foods or hot food products for immediate consumption from authorized retail food stores.

VETERANS

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be allowed to provide transportation, purchase food, shelter, telecommunication equipment, clothing, blankets, and toiletry items for homeless veterans. The VA would be authorized to set up homeless encampments on the grounds of VA Medical Centers during a public health emergency, and make improvements to allow homeless veterans to stay temporarily in VA parking lots.

Veterans without health insurance who’ve been determined to have a financial hardship could qualify for enrollment in the VA’s healthcare system.

SUPPORT FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS & AT-RISK PEOPLE

The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) authorization level would be increased to $20.15 billion in 2020 with $850 million in direct appropriations to fund child & family care for essential workers. An additional $9.6 billion would be directly appropriated to SSBG to provide emergency aid and services to disadvantaged children, families, and households.

Child welfare & support programs, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) would receive emergency flexibility to allow for compliance with public health directives.

FAMILY & WORKER PROTECTIONS

Family & Medical Leave Expansion: This section would suspend until December 31, 2022, the current 1,250 hour eligibility requirement and reduce the tenure eligibility requirement from 12 months to 90 days. The availability of Emergency Family & Medical Leave benefits would be extended from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Workers could use paid sick leave benefits for uses allowed under family & medical leave, and could use paid sick leave in addition to existing employer-provided paid leave through December 31, 2021.

Workforce Protections: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) would issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) within 7 days of enactment to protect healthcare & other workers at occupational risk of exposure to COVID-19. The ETS would require employers to develop & implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect workers from exposure to coronavirus using guidance from federal agencies, and could be no less protective than a state OSHA plan.

CONSUMER PROTECTIONS & TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Housing: This section of the bill would authorize $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program that would provide funds to states, territories, counties, and cities to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the pandemic. It would also authorize $75 billion to meet the needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing directly or indirectly because of the pandemic. The eviction & foreclosure moratoriums in the CARES Act would be extended and expanded. To address homelessness, this section would authorize $11.5 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants program to help state & local governments finance housing & health related services; and $1 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers targeted to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Credit Protections & Debt Collection: Negative credit reporting would be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and other declared major disasters plus 120 days. A temporary moratorium on small business and nonprofit debt collection will be provided for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and for 120 days thereafter.

Price Gouging Prevention: The sale of consumer goods & services at “unconscionably excessive prices” would be prohibited. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would be authorized to enforce the law and impose civil penalties on price gougers.

Internet Access: This section would authorize $5 billion in funding for a temporary disbursement through the E-Rate program for schools & libraries to provide internet service in a technologically neutral way to students & teachers, prioritizing those without internet access at home. Households with a member that has been furloughed would get a $50 benefit for broadband service, while tribal residents would get a $75 benefit. Broadband & telephone providers would be prohibited from terminating service due to a customer’s inability to pay their bill because of financial hardships caused by the pandemic.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline Designation: A universal dialing code, 9-8-8, would be established for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The FCC would evaluate and submit a report to Congress on the feasibility and cost of automatically providing the dispatchable location of calls to 9-8-8. States would be authorized to impose a fee or charge on voice service subscribers’ bills for the support or implementation of 9-8-8 services.

PENSION REFORMS

Multiemployer Pension Reform: This section would authorize the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to take on some of the benefits of a failing multiemployer pension plan through a partition program so that the plan can stay solvent. The partition program would be in effect through 2024, and would provide troubled multiemployer pension plans with enough funding to keep them solvent for 30 years without suspending benefits to beneficiaries & participants.

Single Employer Pension Plans: For plan years beginning in 2020, shortfalls could be amortized over 15 years instead of seven years. Interest rate smoothing corridors for stabilizing single employer pensions would be extended so that their phase-out wouldn’t have to begin in 2021.

EDUCATION

Student Loan Relief: Repayment protections under the CARES Act would be extended to private student loan borrowers. Economically distressed borrowers who had a monthly income-contingent or income-based repayment plan payment of $0; were in default on their student loan; had a payment at least 90 days past due; or had a loan in deferment due to economic or health hardship would receive a $10,000 write down of the federal or private student loan balance. The Treasury Dept. would reimburse federal student loan borrowers for the lower of payments made or amounts due between March 13, 2020, and the date of enactment. Additionally, no-interest repayment protections for Dept. of Education loans would be extended through September 2021.

Financial Stabilization: The Institutional Stabilization Program (ISP) would allow a non-profit institution of higher education facing a liquidity crisis to participate in the ISP if it meets certain financial criteria, creates a record management & teach out-plan, and provides an assurance it will meet those requirements if needed.

CHILD NUTRITION

This section would provide emergency funding for school meal and child adult care food programs to help cover operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also extend the Pandemic EBT program, which provides resources to families with children who would’ve otherwise received free or reduced price meals in school except for pandemic-related school closures, through the summer until schools reopen & allow states to include children who would’ve received meals through childcare.

MISCELLANEOUS

Banking: Marijuana-related legitimate businesses and their service providers would be authorized to access banking services & products, as well as insurance. It would also require reports to Congress on access to financial services and barriers to marketplace entry for potential and existing minority-owned cannabis-related legitimate businesses.

Oversight & Public Health:

  • $21 million would be authorized for U.S. wildlife agencies to work with CDC to identify wildlife species that pose a risk to human health & perform risk analyses to determine which should be classified as “injurious” & trade of such species limited.

  • Involuntary furloughs for employees of airlines & contractors that receive financial assistance & payroll grants under the CARES Act would be prohibited until the company fully exhausts its assistance, rather than September 30, 2020.

  • Airlines would have to require flight attendants, passengers, and pilots to wear masks and other face coverings and submit to a Federal Aviation Administration risk assessment, in addition to providing sanitation & PPE products to airline workers.

  • States & utilities receiving federal emergency funds would be required to have a policy to adopt or maintain policies to prevent shutoffs & ensure safety & continuity of energy & water services to residential customers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Criminal Justice:

  • Grant funding incentives would be provided to state & local law enforcement agencies for the collection of hate crimes data & reporting it to the Justice Dept.

  • This bill would mandate the release of non-violent federal prisoners & pretrial detainees along with pregnant women, juveniles, older prisoners & detainees, and those with certain medical conditions. Probation & supervised release policies would be modified to avoid unnecessary in-person contact with probation officers. Additionally, $600 million would be provided to address the COVID-19 crisis in state & local prisons & jails.

Immigration:

  • Non-citizens who were lawfully present in the U.S. at the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency would be protected from negative immgiration consequences because of their inability to meet filing deadlines or leave the country.

  • Unauthorized immigrants who work in essential critical infrastructure would be provided with temporary protections and would be authorized for employment.

  • Immigration restrictions would be temporarily eased to allow immigrant physicians and other critical healthcare workers to better assist in the fight against COVID-19. Immigrant physicians who have lived & lawfully worked in the U.S. for years but are stuck in immigration backlogs would be immediately eligible to apply for green cards if they’re engaged in COVID-19 related work.

  • Homeland Security would be required to review the immigration files of all unauthorized immigrants in its custody to assess  the need for continued detention. Unauthorized immigrants who aren’t subject to mandatory detention would be prioritized for release on recognizance or into an alternative to detention program unless they’re a threat to public safety or national security. Those who remain in detention would be required to have access to free telephonic & video communications, legal correspondence by fax or email, and provided with sufficient hygiene products.

Impact

American citizens; unauthorized immigrants; essential workers & their employers; elections; businesses receiving financial assistance; various federal agencies; and state & local governments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6800

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered the following statement on the introduction of the HEROES Act:

“We must ‘Think Big’ For The People now because if we don’t, it will cost more in lives and livelihood later. Not acting is the most expensive course. We are presenting a plan to do what is necessary to deal with the coronavirus crisis and make sure we can get the country back to work and school safely. We have a goal. We have benchmarks. And we have the science to succeed. In this critical moment for our country, we must demonstrate a clear strategy of testing, tracing and treatment. Again, we must honor our heroes with the coronavirus crisis with support, not just words. We must address the pain of families who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted House Democrats’ bill and emphasized that its partisan nature will preclude it from becoming law:

“This is a totally unserious effort. Even the mainstream media says, quote, “neither this bill not anything resembling it will ever become law. It’s a Democratic wish list.” But forget about making law, this thing even fails as a messaging bill. That’s what’s so remarkable! House Democrats had a blank slate to write anything they wanted to define the modern Democratic Party. Any vision they wanted. And they chose: Tax hikes on small business, giveaways to blue-state millionaires, government checks for illegal immigrants, and sending diversity detectives to inspect the pot industry. The House gave themselves no assignments for two months except developing this proposal. Yet it still reads like the Speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word “coronavirus” on top of it. An unserious product from an unserious House majority that has spent months dealing itself out of this crisis.”

The White House released a statement of administration policy regarding this legislation, which it said "is more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wishlists than with enhancing the ability of our Nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face." It explained that the bill would be vetoed if it were to reach the president's desk.

Progressive House Democrats unsuccessfully asked Speaker Pelosi to delay a vote on this legislation, asking for more time to review the package and to include their priorities.

This legislation was introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and cosponsored by 11 Democratic committee chairs.


Of NoteIf enacted, this legislation would be the most expensive single spending bill in U.S. history, surpassing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which became law in March 2020.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / photovs)

AKA

The Heroes Act

Official Title

Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed May 16th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 208 Yea / 199 Nay
    IntroducedMay 12th, 2020

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    In general, I am gratified that such a comprehensive and well thought out bill has been developed. I really like the details that anticipate clear needs to keep people safe, rewarding those that are needed to provide essential services and giving them and others who can safely get back to work much needed child care support. I would not expect that all of the piece parts will survive trumpublican efforts to assure funding for their self-serving interests and their diversion of newly acquired federal debt to directly and indirectly line their pockets. However, I really like the House Bill’s comprehensive and detailed focus on the needs of the people and the life support needed to get them through at least the great orange plague pandemic to force a trumpublican party slow demise starting in November and ending in January. Hopefully enough of the House Bill will be left to keep people safe from the medical and economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic as well, to bring the spread clearly under control.
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    Clean it up and take the politics out of it. Election reform, tax breaks for the wealthy and marijuana studies have no place in this act.
    Like (86)
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    Anyone who took the stimulus check is a socialist. Social security and Medicare are socialist. The list goes on and on; police, fire, roads, etc. I wish folks actually knew what the word means before tossing it out. We are a democratic socialist society.
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    Wisconsin’s stupid disenfranchisement stunt proved that physically going to the polls is a great way to get COVID. VOTE BY MAIL!!! It is a better system on all counts.
    Like (124)
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    “Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell gave a dire warning Wednesday 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.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/13/fed-powell-coronavirus-recession/
    Like (69)
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    But who believes that Mitch McConnell's Rand-Paul-style Senate will pass a bill that doesn't favor the already morbidly obese fat cats? Meanwhile, Donald "Jim Jones" Trump has promised instantaneous vaccines to anybody who'll drink the Kool-Aid, or the bleach.
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    And when do the rich step up and pay their fair share?
    Like (61)
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    All Democrats are dirty socialist pigs. Don’t support them in any capacity and don’t listen to their economic tyranny to keep the country shut down. ObamaGate is real. Democrats are done in 2020.
    Like (59)
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    Local governments along with small businesses and the unemployed need this support.
    Like (56)
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    No! This bill need to be DOA! Bailouts for states that spent themselves into a hole, like Illinois. Illinois should suffer the consequences of their stupidity over the many years. So should other states like California, New York etc. it’s not the rest of the countries fault they were not prepared and spent on foolish programs. We shouldn’t be paying illegals, we should be deporting them! There is a pay raise for congress in this stupid bill, they don’t need a pay raise they need a massive cut in pay, minimum 50%! Also they want to bring in more foreigners with green cards for our medical care system, when there are massive layoffs for nurses and doctors right now! These politicians are evil! Open the states and stop this stupidity! JB Pritzker, mandate all you want we down state are going back to normal and not the so called new normal! If people didn’t live on top each other in big cities, things like wuhan virus wouldn’t spread so fast!
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    More money is needed to be put in the hands of Americans to survive this unprecedented event.
    Like (44)
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    I’m glad to see the HERO’S Act addressing much needed funding for mail in voting and supports for essential workers. I haven’t read the entire bill, so I do not know if education has been addressed? I am very concerned about the youth in our country going back to school. Some things to consider: 1. Getting technology & wifi into the hands of our most disadvantaged kids, in the event schools cannot re-open or need to close for sanitation or a new surge of this pandemic. 2. Temperature, testing, tracing ( this would require devices) of students. 3. School staff trained to recognize the signs of COVID-19 and the related hyper immune response that affect children. 4. Sharing school & district plans to create social distancing in a school, like split double sessions, addition of portables, and use of virtual schools. Lunches? Recess? Pre-K’s and Kindergartners...it’s like herding cats...how will we keep them apart??? 5. What is the plan for our kids already having health risks? 6. What to do with anti-vaxers? I could go on. It is best to get real educators & administration from Pre-K thru University level( NOT DeVos) together to discuss challenges &! viable solutions BEFORE August, and then help States to implement plans. Education is the core of our Democracy. There is NO reason, in today’s technological age, that we can’t have quality education for ALL children. Please spend some time to address this issue before it becomes another fire to put out. And, for the love of our country, encourage the next president to appoint an educator as the Secretary of Education! There’s an unprecedented thought. Thank you.
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    The citizens need more support, small businesses and individuals not big business
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    More support is needed for people and small businesses. People need to pay rent or mortgages, buy food and pay utilities more than corporations need another bailout. Companies can reopen but who is going to buy anything if they have no money?
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    The bill has critical funding for state and local governments and ordinary Americans. It rewards essential workers, ensures the stability of our local services, and enhances the integrity of our elections. Every American should support it.
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    Problem is the bill is too nice to the Paid Slaves. Republicans don’t like helping their paid slaves. Notice the republicans have stuffed the other 2 Corvid19 bills with help for the richest people & corporations with no oversight of Trump’s bunch who handled the money. Dems were steadfast about getting money & help in the bill but the Trump administration screwed up the delivery of the money & gave it to big corporations instead of where it was supposed to go. And now they have a bill to actually help the paid slaves and the Republican Senate won’t do anything about it.
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    The bill is shameful but the democrats do not feel shame that is why they can lie with a straight face. The truth does not matter to them or justice either.
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    The Heroes Act will do a lot of good in a very tough time. Broadband for All for real is very important for remote workers, learners of all ages, farms & business in rural areas. It’s even more of a digital economy and everyone needs access for our country to recover.
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    Voted in favor because really there is no other option. The damage has already been done. The rich are already richest and downvoting this would not change that. People need to be able to pay their Bill's
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    Our citizens need financial assistance. $1200 per adult and $500 per child is a pittance, not even enough to get through one month. Recurring payments for several months and expansion of SNAP (food stamps) should have been a priority rather than corporations and banks. TRUE small businesses got the scraps left by the large corporations if anything at all. Shameful.
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