Bustos Secures Support for Cities and Towns, Health Care Coverage, Small Businesses, Family Farmers, COVID-19 Response Efforts
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass the Heroes Act out of the House, the latest legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes critical provisions Congresswoman Bustos has championed which would deliver resources to cities and towns, create a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, support small businesses, bring relief to family farmers, and invest in broadband infrastructure.
The legislation also provides support for essential workers, direct payments to Americans, and increased investment in testing and tracing, which is vital to re-opening efforts.
“Historic needs call for historic measures – we must act with the urgency this time in our history demands. More than 83 thousand American lives have been lost and more than 1.3 million have fallen ill to this merciless virus. Unemployment is soaring, livelihoods are on the line, family farmers are struggling and our everyday lives have been changed,” Congresswoman Bustos said.
“The Heroes Act is the boldest relief package Congress has ever put forward because right now, America needs bold action. Throughout this difficult time, I’ve spent countless hours listening to the concerns of hardworking Illinoisans. This legislation includes so much of what our communities are calling for. I voted to pass the much-needed Heroes Act today because we have no time to waste – we must meet the tremendous needs of this moment, now.”
Congresswoman Bustos fought to include:
- Resources for State and Local Governments: The Heroes Act provides $915 billion for state and local governments to help replace lost revenues and support vital services like those provided by first responders and frontline workers. Illinois would receive $36.1 billion of this funding.
- Health Care Investments: The legislation would appoint a Medical Supplies Response Coordinator to serve as the point of contact for health care systems, supply chain officials and states. It also includes $200 million to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus in Federal prisons like Thomson and Pekin, including funding for testing, personal protective equipment, and more.
- Special Enrollment Session for Marketplace Coverage: The bill also includes Congresswoman Bustos’ legislation that would provide a two-month enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act to allow individuals who are uninsured to enroll in coverage.
- Relief for Family Farmers: The Heroes Act includes $16.5 billion to producers to make up for lost revenue and support for renewable fuels at a base rate of $0.45 per gallon produced between January and May of 2020. It also includes $20 million for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network program and emergency assistance to support livestock producers who are forced to euthanize market-ready livestock due to processing plant disruptions.
- Support for Small Businesses: The legislation adds flexibility to the Paycheck Protection Program by extending the forgiveness period to 24 weeks and the covered period to December 31. It would also eliminate the 75/25 rule on use of the loan process and strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and housing cooperatives.
- Additional Support: The legislation prohibits airlines that receive CARES Act funding from increasing their share of heavy maintenance work done overseas, provides $100 million for domestic violence programs, $4 billion for the Emergency Broadband Assistance Network program and $1.5 billion for LIHEAP to help low-income families cover energy costs.
Additional provisions in the Heroes Act include:
- Strong Support for our Heroes: Establishes a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to provide hazard pay to essential workers across the country.
- Investments in COVID-19 Response: Provides $75 billion for testing, tracing and treatment for the coronavirus and $6 billion for public health departments to expand contact tracing capacity. An additional $100 billion to reimburse health care related expenses or lost revenue due to COVID-19. It also requires COVID-19 related treatment at no cost sharing.
- Direct Payments: A second round of direct payments would be given to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures would be implemented to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs, and weekly $600 federal unemployment payments would be provided through next January.
- Additional Assistance for Small Business: The bill would also provide $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
- Support for our Democracy: The Heroes Act also includes $3.6 billion for Election Resilience Grants to ensure safe elections and $25 billion to preserve the United States Postal Service.