Chairman Scott Statement on House Passage of the Heroes Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House passed a fifth legislative relief package—the Heroes Act—in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“By passing the Heroes Act today, the House of Representatives took an important step toward confronting the full scale of this pandemic.
“The Heroes Act dedicates nearly $1 trillion in emergency relief to help states and local government avert devastating cuts, particularly to education, public safety, and basic services. It also delivers $100 billion in direct education funding to address the unique challenges created by the pandemic. In K-12, funding would be available for technology, summer programs, special education, and initiatives to reduce the achievement gaps. In higher education, funds would be used to support both students and their institutions.
“The Heroes Act offers critical relief to student loan borrowers by extending and expanding the current suspension on monthly payments and interest accrual to nearly all borrowers, and it secures additional student loan relief for more than 20 million borrowers with the greatest need.
“To protect the health of our communities, the Heroes Act covers the full cost of premiums owed by both furloughed and laid-off workers. If you lose your job during a global pandemic, the last thing you should have to worry about is losing your health insurance. The bill also provides more than $4 billion for food assistance programs, like WIC and school meal programs, and expands anti-hunger programs, including Pandemic-EBT.
“To support our workers, the Heroes Act directs the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard that will protect all workers from COVID-19. This includes workers in hospitals, meatpacking plants, retail stores, restaurants, offices, shipyards, and any other workplace where a person may face risk from exposure to COVID-19. It also expands emergency paid family, medical, and sick leave protections to millions of workers, including health care workers and first responders, who were excluded in previous legislation.
“The Heroes Act puts money in people’s pockets. It provides premium pay of $13 per hour up to $10,000 for essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic, including those in medical care, corrections, transportation, and shipyards. To further ease the financial strain of this crisis, the bill includes a second round of stimulus checks and ensures that workers can access $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits until January.
“Finally, the Heroes Act helps build a large-scale, community-based public health workforce to support contact tracing and contain the pandemic. The bill invests in community organizations, such as the National Urban League and AmeriCorps, to connect workers to jobs that are essential to safely reopening the economy.
“Every day, the financial and human cost of this pandemic continues to rise. The Heroes Act reflects the sense of urgency that this crisis demands.”