WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass the Heroes 2.0 Act out of the House, the latest legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes critical provisions Congresswoman Bustos has championed since the passage of the first Heroes Act in May, including desperately-needed resources for cities and small towns, a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, increased support for small businesses, relief for family farmers and biofuels, direct payments to American families, enhanced unemployment and increased investment in testing and tracing.
“The cost of Mitch McConnell’s delay is nothing short of a national tragedy – we have lost approximately 120,000 American lives since the Heroes Act was first passed. Today, I am relieved to cast my vote for Heroes 2.0, which would finally deliver much-needed relief for hardworking Americans,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “When we first passed the Heroes Act, I said our nation was in need of bold action. We are again taking bold action for the people that we serve. I’ve spent countless hours listening to the concerns of hardworking Illinoisans and this will help answer our communities’ calls for help. It is my sincere hope that the actions today will help us finally get the assistance our local communities truly need.”
The updated Heroes Act protect lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy, with:
- Strong support for small businesses, by improving the Paycheck Protection Program to serve the smallest businesses, provide hard-hit businesses with second loans
,and deliver targeted assistance for struggling industries.
- Assistance for agriculture, including support for sectors previously left out of legislative packages, such as biofuels producers, PPE for farm workers and grants to help with supply chain disruptions.
- Education and child care support, including $225 billion for education, with $182 billion for K-12 schools, nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education and $57 billion to support child care.
- Desperately-needed assistance for state and local governments, including $436 billion to help avoid layoffs of vital workers like first responders and health workers.
- Testing, tracing and treatment funding, including $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures and $28 billion for procurement, distribution and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine.
- Additional direct payments, including a second round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
- Payroll protection, by enhancing the new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll.
- Worker safety protection, by requiring OSHA to issue a strong, enforceable standard within seven days to require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC guidance.
- Health coverage protections, including allowing unemployed Americans to automatically receive the maximum ACA subsidy on market exchanges, and a special enrollment period for uninsured Americans.
- Enhanced unemployment benefits restored, ensuring weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
- Housing assistance, including new supports to help renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs – preventing homelessness.
- Food security support, including a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table, as well as targeted support for farmers and producers impacted by the crisis.
- Safeguards for our democracy, with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census
,and preserve the Postal Service.