Langevin Statement on House Passage of Heroes Act

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today voted in favor of H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act. The bill, which represents House Democrats’ latest relief effort, includes $3 trillion in funding to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will provide additional stimulus payments for individuals and families, a dedicated fund for hazard pay for essential frontline workers, vital aid for state and local governments, and support for robust testing and contact tracing measures.

Under this legislation, the State of Rhode Island and local cities and towns will receive at least $5.3 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds according to an analysis from the Congressional Research Service and more than $262 million in funding for local school districts and colleges and universities.

The following statement may be attributed to Congressman Jim Langevin:

“Right now, the American people need help to keep roofs over their heads, put food on the table, and enable them to live safe and healthy lives during this difficult time. The numbers are staggering. Over 86,000 Americans are dead, there are over 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and more Americans have lost their jobs faster than at any point in our nation’s history. Our country is suffering, and it is up to us, the elected Representatives of this great nation, to take action. With the passage of the Heroes Act, the House is stepping up for the families pinching pennies just to get by; for individuals who’ve lost their jobs; for frontline workers showing up for another shift; for small business owners worried about opening their doors again; and for communities grappling with fiscal challenges triggered by this unprecedented public health crisis.

“The spread of COVID-19 has reshaped so many aspects of our way of life. It has claimed lives and livelihoods, and while some have their eyes set on what is ahead for our nation, we must be conscious of the very real challenges Americans face today. As we battle this pandemic, the Heroes Act will get critical aid to the people who need it right now. We cannot afford to wait and allow this terrible illness to inflict even more harm on our people and our economy.

“To move closer to a national recovery, the Heroes Act puts money directly into the pockets of those struggling to make ends meet with another round of stimulus payments and a continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits. With the hazard pay fund included in this bill, we will compensate our heroes for risking their lives on the front lines each and every day. To keep local governments providing essential services afloat, we are prioritizing critical funds and flexibility for states and municipalities. And we are continuing our push to establish robust testing and healthcare services to serve all Americans, whether they’re from densely populated communities or rural areas.

“This legislation puts the health and economic well-being of the people first. The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in our communities. It has not taken a break, and neither should we. I urge my Senate colleagues to act now – Americans can’t afford to have their government sit idle during this emergency.”

The Heroes Act includes:

  • Nearly $1 trillion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments, supporting pay for vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers
  • $200 billion for a Heroes’ Fund to ensure hazard pay for essential workers
  • $75 billion for testing, tracing and treatment, aiming to expand access to free coronavirus treatment and in support of hospitals and providers
  • Another round of direct stimulus payments of $1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household
  • A new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll, which would allow 60 million Americans to continue to receive a paycheck and benefits
  • Provisions to strengthen the Payroll Protection Program to ensure funds reach underserved communities and nonprofits
  • An additional $10 billion for small business emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
  • COBRA subsidies to maintain health coverage and the creation a special enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act
  • An extension of unemployment benefits providing weekly supplemental $600 payments through next January
  • $175 billion in new housing supports to help people pay rent, mortgage and utilities
  • An increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition program.