Rep. McEachin Applauds House Passage of the Heroes Act, Benefits for Virginia and Local Communities & Counties

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today applauded the passage of the Heroes Act, the latest legislation to address the continued public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The legislation provides urgently-needed support for struggling families and essential workers; funds for testing and tracing measures; key support for frontline workers; and strengthened assistance for the American people.

 

The Heroes Act provides the Commonwealth of Virginia and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately-needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our healthcare workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.

 

“Congress must lead the nation through this crisis with common-sense and compassion,” said Rep. McEachin. “Our lives and the well-being of our communities are threatened if our healthcare, police, fire, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers do not have the support that they need. Passage of the Heroes Act will protect the livelihoods of frontline heroes risking their lives to care for our communities and provide workers and families with relief urgently-needed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

Congressman McEachin worked diligently to ensure that the priorities of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District were included in this legislation, specifically:

  • Coverage for COVID-19 treatment for Medicare beneficiaries;
    • H.R. 6727 introduced by Congressman McEachin holds Medicare beneficiaries harmless for specific COVID-19 treatment services furnished under part A or part B of the Medicare program – (Section 30201)
  • Incentivizing state and local governments to end water shutoffs;
    • The Home Energy and Water Service Continuity follows Congressman McEachin’s May letter to House leadership urging a prohibition of water shutoffs for municipalities and county governments receiving federal COVID-19 relief aid – (Section 190701)
  • Ensuring EPA environmental justice efforts continue during the pandemic; and
    • H.R. 6692 introduced by Congressman McEachin requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to carry out certain programs relating to environmental justice, and for other purposes – (Section 190702)
  • Bolstering emergency funding for colleges and universities
    • Following Congressman McEachin’s April letter to leadership requesting increased funding for universities, the Heroes Act includes more than $10 billion to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students, including $1.7 billion for HBCUs and MSIs, and $8.4 billion for other institutions of higher education – (Division O – Education Provisions and Other Programs)

The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $2,020,418 for communities across Virginia.  This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary, and public higher education and can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students, as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.

 

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the Heroes Act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy.

  • Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.  
  • Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing, and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
  • Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their paychecks and benefits, and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
  • Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types, and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Ensures further support for Virginians and all Americans, including for:
    • Health security – with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance.
    • Workplace security – requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems.
    • Housing security – with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments, and other housing-related costs.
    • Food security – with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.  
  • Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service. 

 

“We cannot pause while so many families in our communities are struggling,” continued Rep. McEachin. “We have a responsibility to do what is necessary now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities. With the Heroes Act, House Democrats honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.”