More direct payments
The package, dubbed the HEROES Act, includes more direct payments beyond the $1,200 check most Americans received under earlier legislation. The new bill offers another $1,200 payment for each family member in a household, up to $6,000.
State and local government aid
The bill allocates about $1 trillion to state, local and tribal governments for “honoring our heroes,” the legislation’s namesake. Democrats have argued that with a loss of tax revenue, states and cities desperately need federal aid to pay health care workers, first responders, police and teachers.
Republicans have argued against bailing out “poorly run” states that have pension deficits and other financial issues that predate coronavirus.
Hazard pay for essential workers
A “Heroes Fund” would be established, providing $200 billion to essential workers who worked during the pandemic as hazard pay.
Payroll tax credit
Businesses will receive a tax credit if they keep employees on their payroll, allowing 60 million to keep their paychecks and benefits, according to a fact sheet provided by a Democratic aide. The credit is an expanded version of the one that Congress passed in March — it would cover 80 percent of $45,000 of costs per employee, up from 50 percent of $10,000.
President Trump has repeatedly pushed for a payroll tax cut to be included in the bill, which is not.
Payroll Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program would be expanded “to ensure it reaches underserved communities” by providing $10 billion in COVID-19 emergency grants.
Extended unemployment benefits
Weekly $600 federal unemployment payments, additional to state benefits, would be extended until next January.
Affordable Care Act enrollment
The bill would create a special enrollment period in Affordable Care Act exchanges for the uninsured and would protect those losing their employer-provided health insurance with COBRA subsidies.
There would also be $175 billion given to help families pay their mortgage, rent or utility costs. Maximum SNAP benefits, currently at $768 per month, would be increased by 15 percent.
Testing, tracing and treatment funding
Another $75 billion would be provided to “ensure every American can access free coronavirus treatment,” and to expand testing and contact tracing measures.
An unknown amount of resources would be allotted for elections safeguards, Census oversight and USPS funding.
Author: Morgan Phillips