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House Passes The Heroes Act, Dingell-led Priorities Included for Coronavirus Response

Heroes Act provides more than $7.3 Billion for Michigan, and $1.1 Billion for Localities in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District

Washington, May 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell voted in support of the latest legislation to address the continued public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for struggling families and essential workers, with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers and strengthened assistance for the American people. The Heroes Act is a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation.                                   

Dingell fought for and successfully included many provisions in the Heroes Act to support state and local governments, front-line healthcare workers, and hard-working men and women. Among The Heroes Act provisions Dingell led are:

  • Dingell and Tlaib’s the Emergency Water is a Human Right Act, which would prohibit water shutoffs nationwide and provide financial assistance for low-income households to pay for drinking water and wastewater during the COVID-19 national emergency. 
  • Provisions modeled after Dingell’s Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act. The Heroes Act includes a 10 percent Federal Medical Assistance Percentage increase for certain qualifying activities (e.g. increased pay for home health workers, improved assistive technology for those in need) to promote home and community-based services (HCBS) during the COVID-19 emergency. This is a historic investment in promoting HCBS and long-term care.
  • Dingell and Walorski legislation to strengthen the strategic national stockpile, improve the domestic production of personal protective equipment, and improve the federal ability to respond to future disasters and pandemics. The Heroes Act would authorize $500 million per year through FY2023 for a Supply Chain Flexibility Manufacturing pilot program to establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies, including PPE, geographically diversify production of medical supplies, and work with distributors to periodically refresh SNS supplies.
  • Dingell, Horsford, and Scott legislation to help workers keep job-based health coverage by providing a 100 percent COBRA subsidy to laid-off workers is included in the Heroes Act. 
  • Dingell and Tlaib pressed to ensure worker safety, by requiring OSHA to issue a strong, enforceable standards and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise.
  • Dingell joined Speier, Fitzpatrick, Moore, Kuster and 86 members to included increased funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs including transitional housing assistance, legal assistance for victims, and support for families in the justice system. 
  • Dingell-led support of local media through the individual physical locations of newspaper publisher groups, radio stations, and TV broadcasters to be eligible for SBA loans. 

“Every day, we see the need for more action, more support, and more to combat the coronavirus crisis,” said Dingell. “Months into the crisis, the numbers are devastating. Michigan has been hit harder than most states: 4th in deaths, nearly 2 million unemployed, and lives changed forever. We have a responsibility to do what is necessary now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities.  The Heroes Act honors the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.”

Dingell continued, “We passed the Heroes Act to protect Michigan families and ensure all our frontline heroes have the support they need to continue to save lives and keep our communities safe and healthy. It’s not perfect and we have to keep working, but compromise is not a dirty word. One area of concern are pension provisions that take care of some but not others. This bill is not the last word on pensions. We will keep fighting for additional changes and I know our brothers and sisters in labor will continue to fight and uplift one another as our fight for retirement security for all continues. Congress was intended for all to come together with different perspectives and we will all continue to work to protect and keep safe all Americans.”

The Heroes Act provides Michigan government 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 health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.  An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide in 2020:

  • more than $7.3 billion to the State of Michigan,
  • $637,359,158 to Wayne County
  • $137,819,920 to Washtenaw County
  • And $375,014,083 for localities in or partially in Michigan’s 12th District, (breakdown by city available here)

The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.

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 jobs 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 Michiganders 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 an accurate Census, preserve the Postal Service, and safe elections including $102,377,345 in Election Assistance Grants to the State of Michigan. 
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