On May 12, House Democrats unveiled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act. Democratic leadership intends to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote on Friday. The bill is the starting point for negotiations on the next COVID-19 economic stimulus package.
At a high level, the bill includes the following priorities:
- $875 billion in state and local funding.
- $100 billion in grants for hospitals and other health care providers.
- Expansions to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and other tax changes
- Incentives for working families, including expansions of the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit; Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts; and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Increases to Economic Stimulus Payments.
- Elimination of the $10,000 state and local tax deduction cap through 2021.
- Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, including a repeal of the requirement that 75% of loan proceeds be spend on payroll expenses in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.
- Changes to retirement benefits.
- Expansion of Unemployment Insurance benefits, including an extension of the $600 benefit under the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program from July 31, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.
- Funding for various education priorities.
- Various workforce provisions, including changes to eligibility requirements for the Job Corps and YouthBuild programs.
The bill is unlikely to be taken up by the Senate—it has been dismissed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as “aspirational.” McConnell has indicated the Senate will take its time to consider its priorities for the next stimulus bill. The upper chamber does not currently intend to release a package immediately in response to the HEROES Act.
Click here for a summary of select provisions in the bill.