U.S. Senate Pauses On Voting For HEROES Act; Arizona Congressional Delegation Reacts
In a narrow victory for Democrats, the U.S. House on Friday passed an additional $3 trillion coronavirus response package called the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or the HEROES Act, that was introduced earlier in the week.
But Senate Republicans said the bill as it currently stands is dead on arrival and have paused voting, opting to wait and see how previously passed stimulus bills are working.
Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko agreed with her colleagues in the Senate. “States are re-opening, so now we’re not in the same dire, emergency, rushing-through situation like we were before," she said.
But Arizona Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran had more questions than answers regarding the delay. “What’s the purpose of the break? To understand what we already know? That this is a deadly virus? That this needs to be addressed? That we need to have plans of action?” he said.
The bill largely passed the House on party lines 208 to 199.
According to a summary provided by the Congressional Research Service, among other things, the legislation:
- Provides FY2020 emergency supplemental appropriations to federal agencies.
- Provides payments and other assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial governments.
- Provides additional direct payments of up to $1,200 per individual.
- Expands paid sick days, family and medical leave, unemployment compensation, nutrition and food assistance programs, housing assistance, and payments to farmers.
- Modifies and expands the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
- Establishes a fund to award grants for employers to provide pandemic premium pay for essential workers.
- Expands several tax credits and deductions.
- Provides funding and establishes requirements for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
- Eliminates cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments.
- Extends and expands the moratorium on certain evictions and foreclosures.
- Requires employers to develop and implement infectious disease exposure control plans.
The bill also modifies or expands a wide range of other programs and policies, including those regarding:
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Health insurance
- Broadband service
- Medical product supplies
- Student loans and financial aid
- The federal workforce
- Veterans benefits
- Consumer protection requirements
- The U.S. Postal Service
- Federal elections
- Aviation and railroad workers
- Pension and retirement plans