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Courtney Votes to Pass Second, Updated HEROES Act to Provide Economic Relief Amid COVID-19

October 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – This evening, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted to pass the Updated HEROES Act (H.R. 925), a bill meant to provide much-needed relief to struggling American workers, towns, small businesses and others as the fallout of COVID-19 continues. The Updated HEROES Act represents an effort to meet the White House and Senate Republicans half way after they failed to consider the House's original proposal despite its passage 139 days ago. H.R. 925 preserves several key relief components from the original legislation, such as individual payments to American workers and families, funding to states and municipalities, and more.

“It’s more apparent each day that the impacts of the COVID epidemic will still be with us for months and months to come,” said Rep. Courtney. “The American people are still in need of assistance, similar to the kind that Congress authorized previously in COVID bills that we passed on a bipartisan basis. This updated, targeted version of the HEROES Act still addresses key services that will help families and patients get through this crisis, and it would help shore up our economy with assistance to small businesses, state and local governments, and health care institutions. People can’t weather another 139 days of Senate inaction—it’s time for the President and his allies in the Senate to join us in getting a new, bipartisan economic relief package completed.”

The updated HEROES Act contains important provisions to support eastern Connecticut schools, municipalities, unemployed workers, and more, including:

Support for States and Municipalities—The bill includes $208 billion to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, including $1.9 billion for the State of Connecticut, for grants to support elementary, secondary, and public postsecondary schools; law enforcement, fire fighters, and other first responders; and more.

Funding to Support Education and Child Care—The Updated HEROES Act would provide $225 billion in funding for education, including $182 billion for K-12 schools and nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education. The new measure would also provide $57 billion to support child care for families.

Direct Payments to Americans and Families—H.R. 925 would provide additional direct payments, cushioning the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis with a more robust second round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.

New Funding to Support Workforce Development—H.R. 925 includes $2.6 billion in additional funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to help state and local workforce investment systems respond to unprecedented demand and limited resources to assist displaced workers, and enable small- and medium-sized employers to avoid layoffs through on-the-job training support. Of this funding, the State of Connecticut would receive approximately $14 million for WIOA workforce development grants, and $15 million for WIOA youth grants.

Support for Displaced Workers—The Updated HEROES Act creates a new federal program to assist displaced workers: the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Extension Program, which would provide up to 13 additional weeks of federally-financed unemployment benefit to any individual who exhausts state or federal UI benefits before January 31, 2021. The State of Connecticut would receive approximately $21 million. The bill would also restore the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) to all state and federal UI benefits starting the week of September 6 and ending January 31, 2021.

Support for Small Businesses—The bill includes strong support for small businesses by improving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits, providing hard-hit businesses with second loans, and delivering targeted assistance for the struggling restaurant industry and independent live venue operators.

Robust Funding for Testing, Tracing, and Treatment—The Updated HEROES Act would authorize $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, with special attention to the disparities facing communities of color, ensuring every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and supporting hospitals and providers. The updated bill also includes $28 billion for procurement, distribution and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine.