The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (Democrat), just presented a 1,800-page bill for consideration. The bill is called the Heroes Act (it is an acronym for Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) and it contains many things that Democrats have wanted all along during the pandemic – and more. In order to meet the needed costs that the bill proposes, $3 trillion would be required.
The bill is expected to be voted on in the House this coming Friday. It is unlikely that it will pass since the Republicans do not support it. This means it is apt to be reduced in what it covers – if it passes at all.
Small Business Help Not Included
Although the bill would be the largest stimulus package so far, there is no provision in it to help small businesses. It does, however, provide new kinds of help for various groups and people. With a record-breaking 14.7 percent of people now unemployed, financial help is needed and a one-time payment of $1,200 is not enough (and more for families).
The Package Details
The current package contains several features. Among them are the following:
- A Heroes Fund – this is $200 billion designated to provide “essential workers” with hazard pay.
- A Trillion dollars will go to various government agencies – including local, territorial, state, and tribal.
- Payments to Individuals – another round of payments is to be given to individuals and families. Families may receive up to $6,000.
- Housing Assistance – $175 billion to help people pay their rent or mortgages and to obtain food.
- Unemployment Benefits – this would be another increase of $600 per month to be extended through January.
- COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing – $75 billion to help in this area.
- Help for the U.S. Postal Service – $25 billion to help support it.
- Help for People with Mental Health Issues – $3 billion is being designated to provide needed support.
- Money to ensure mail-in votes are available.
- Private Health Insurance – money will be given to help people who are laid off to be able to keep their COBRA health insurance policies intact. A special enrollment period will also be given for new enrollment in Obamacare.
In addition to the above monetary provisions, the bill also includes regulations to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The bill will require that masks be worn on public transportation systems.
The requirements are the same for individuals as they were before. Everyone making less than $75,000 will receive $1,200 plus $500 per child. A married couple will receive $2,400 and a head of household must make less than $112,500. People that have a TIN will not receive any money.
What the Republicans Want
The Republicans are basically against any type of stimulus package being given in the immediate future – certainly not before Memorial Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that the Republicans want to give it a little more time to see what impact the previous stimulus packages have had on the economy. He indicated that they wanted to wait until June, at least, to be able to tell.
Republicans also want to help ensure that business owners are given protection against lawsuits. There already are a lot of them and they fear that opening up and bringing employees back to work will cause many more employees to get sick. Still, the goal, they say, is to open up the country for business.
Editor’s Note: This is mostly a pork bill by the Democrats, attempting to get money for issues unrelated to the coronavirus. This is the worst kind of politics. Republicans want to wait to see how the economy goes. It could be that another rounds of stimulus is needed but it is also possible that the economy will recover and indeed boom without it.