On May 12, House Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion stimulus relief package known as the HEROES Act. Bill text can be found here and a section by section summary can be found here. We share a summary of the legislation below as well.
The legislation would provide states, local governments, and individuals with new cash as the country’s coronavirus outbreak continues to hamstring the economy. The House is set to pass the package on Friday.
The House stimulus package was not negotiated with Republicans and is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Shortly after its release, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other Senate Republicans spoke in opposition to the bill. Still, it is a guide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s and Democrat’s priorities as negotiations continue.
Ridge Policy Group had several items included in the legislation that we were advocating for on behalf of our partners:
- Defederalizes the Revolving Loan Fund at the Economic Development Administration, which are vital lifelines to small, family-owned businesses.
- Waived the matching requirement for Economic Development Administration COVID-19 response grants
- Created a Disaster Recovery Office at the Economic Development Administration
- Allows funds to pay for consultants or counsel to allow Economic Development Administration grantees to pay consultants to help develop grant applications for funds under the CARES Act
- Expanded access to the Paycheck Protection Program to all nonprofit organizations, regardless of type or size
- Increased Funding for Home and Community Based Services for Individuals with Disabilities, which allows them to continue to receive the support they need during COVID-19
- Allows tribes to apply directly for Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants
- Increases Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments to state Medicaid programs by a total of 14 percentage points starting July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021
- Provides $10.15 billion to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students
- Provides funding for lab and manufacturing facilities in responding to COVID-19, including through the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority
We continue to advocate for these items and others to be included in a final COVID-19 response package.
Below outlines some of the other provisions in the House package.
Support for Individuals
- Provides another set of $1,200 stimulus check payments to individuals and $1,200 for dependent children, up to $6,000 a household. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for joint filers) at a rate of $5 per $100 of income. Treasury shall issue this credit as an advance payment based on the information on 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
- Makes all dependents eligible for the $500 qualifying child amount in the Economic Impact Payments made under the CARES Act, previously only applicable to children below age 17. This allows households with dependents who are full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents to also receive the $500 amount. This provision is effective retroactive to the date of enactment of the CARES Act.
- Extends a $600 weekly increase to unemployment benefits into January
- Provides $200 billion to fund “hazard pay” for essential workers who’ve had to risk exposure to the virus as they stay on the job while much of the rest of the country has been shut down.
- Expands the eligibility and the amount of the earned income tax credit for taxpayers with no qualifying children (the “childless EITC”) for 2020. In particular, the minimum age to claim the childless EITC is reduced from 25 to 19 (except for full-time students) and the upper age limit for the childless EITC is increased from age 65 to age 66. This section also increases childless EITC amount by increasing the credit percentage and phaseout percentage from 7.65 to 15.3 percent, increasing the earned income amount to $9,720, increasing the phaseout amount to $11,490. Under these parameters, the maximum credit amount in 2020 increases from $538 to $1,487.
- Makes the child tax credit (“CTC”) fully refundable for 2020 and increases the amount to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6). The provision also makes 17-year-olds qualifying children.
- Eliminates for 2020 and 2021 of limitation on deduction of state and local taxes
Support for Businesses
- While the legislation does not add additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, it makes the following changes
- Extends the period to 24 weeks after a loan is received or Dec. 31, whichever is earlier to spend funding to keep workers employed, instead of the 8 weeks initially passed, to receive loan forgiveness.
- The bill would also allow firms to rehire workers by the end of the year rather than by June 30 to qualify for loan forgiveness.
- Extend the loans to a greater array of nonprofits, including local tourism bureaus, some trade associations, professional organizations, chambers of commerce and other groups
- Set aside at least 25% of remaining funds for businesses with 10 and fewer employees — and devote any returned or canceled loan amounts to those firms.
- Set aside at least 25% of remaining funds for nonprofits.
- Provide an additional $10 billion for grants through the separate SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses
- Give employers a credit worth up to $12,000 per employee per quarter, an increase of $5,000 per worker for the remainder of the year.
- Allows companies to deduct the payroll, rent and other costs that the PPP loans covered.
Support for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments
$1 trillion in aid would go to state and local governments.
- $500 billion would be targeted to states
- $375 billion to localities
- $20 billion to tribal governments
- $20 billion to territories
$9.6 billion to the Social Services Block Grant, requiring HHS to distribute the funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. Territories within 45 days. Under this section, states would be required to pass through at least 50 percent of the funds to county governments, local governments working in partnership with community-based organizations, or directly to community-based organizations with experience serving disadvantaged individuals or families.
$400 million to federally recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to fund emergency aid and services for disadvantaged individuals and families. Funds would be distributed on the basis of population and could not be used for services that would be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
$100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program that would allocate funding to states, territories, counties, and cities to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.
$75 billion to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.
$3.6 billion for grants to States for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for Federal office.
Support for Education
$90 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to States to support statewide and local funding for elementary and secondary schools and public postsecondary institutions. This flexible funding can support:
- Costs associated with making up instructional time, including teacher, school leader, and classified school employee personnel costs;
- Providing school-based supports for impacted students, families, and staff, including counseling, mental health services, family engagement efforts, and the coordination of physical health services;
- Costs associated with sanitation and cleaning for schools and school transportation;
- Professional development for school-based staff on trauma-informed care to restore the learning environment;
- Purchasing educational technology, including assistive technology, that aids in regular and substantive interactions between students and their classroom instructor;
- Coordination efforts between State educational agencies and public health departments for emergency planning, response, and recovery;
- Authorized activities under education statutes including ESEA, IDEA, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and the Perkins Act;
- Training and professional development for college and university faculty and staff to use technology and services related to distance education;
- General expenditures for institutions of higher education for expenses associated with a disruption in services or operations related to coronavirus, including defraying expenses due to lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and payroll; and, o
- Emergency financial aid to postsecondary students for housing, food, technology, health care, and child care.
Extends suspension of payments for Federal student loans through September 30, 2021 and adds a 30-day transition period where any missed payments after payment suspension ends do not result in collection fees and are not reported to consumer reporting agencies.
Support for Testing
$75 billion for testing, contact tracing, and other activities necessary to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19.
Funding under Agriculture Appropriations
$10 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
$1.1 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children Program
$3 billion for Child Nutrition Programs
Funding under Commerce Appropriations
Bureau of Prisons – $200 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus in Federal prisons, including funding for medical testing and services, personal protective equipment, hygiene supplies and services, and sanitation services
$300 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for purchasing personal protective equipment and controlling outbreaks of coronavirus at prisons
$300 million for law enforcement hiring grants under the COPS program
$500 million to prevent, detect, and stop the presence of COVID-19 in correctional institutions, and for pre-trial citation and release grants
$25 million for Rapid COVID-19 Testing at correctional institutions
$125 million for National Science Foundation (NSF) Research
$1.5 billion for Wi-Fi hotspots
Funding under Interior Appropriations
$1 billion for building hospitals and critical infrastructure in the Insular Areas,
$900 million at the Bureau of Indian Affairs to meet Tribal government needs necessary to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus,
$2.1 billion for the Indian Health Service to address health care needs related to coronavirus for Native Americans
$10 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for grants to support the general operations of recipients and language to permit the waiver of matching requirements.
$10 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities for grants to support the general operations of recipients and language to permit the waiver of matching requirements.
Funding under Labor, Health, and Education Appropriations
$3.1 billion to support workforce training and worker protection activities related to coronavirus at the Department of Labor
$7.6 billion for Health Centers to expand the capacity to provide testing, triage, and care for COVID-19 and other health care services at approximately 1,000 existing health centers across the country
$2.1 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including:
- $2 billion for State, local, Territorial, and Tribal Public Health Departments and
- $130 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization
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 and startup costs of biomedical research laboratories nationwide.
$3.5 billion for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for therapeutics and vaccines;
$500 million for BARDA to support U.S.-based next generation manufacturing facilities;
$500 million for BARDA to promote innovation in antibacterial research and development
$175 billion to reimburse for health care related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the coronavirus for the Public Health Emergency Fund
$3 billion to increase mental health support during this challenging time, to support substance abuse treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
$100 million to the Administration for Community Living
$7 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants;
$1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
Funding Under Transportation and Housing Appropriations
15.75 billion for operating assistance grants to support the transit agencies that require significant additional assistance to maintain basic transit services.
$5 billion for Community Development Block Grants
$11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the impact of coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
$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.
$750 million to ensure the continuation of housing assistance for low-income individuals and families living in project-based rental assistance properties, and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic.
$500 million to maintain operations at properties providing affordable housing for low-income seniors and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure access to supportive services for this vulnerable population, this includes $300 million for service coordinators and the continuation of existing congregate service grants for residents of assisted housing projects.
Other Health Care Related Provisions
Eliminates cost sharing for Medicaid beneficiaries for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Establishes zero cost-sharing (out-of-pocket costs) for COVID-19 treatment under Medicare Advantage during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Requires CDC to maintain a toll-free telephone number to address public health questions related to COVID-19.