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Beyer To Vote Yes On Heroes Act

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today announced that he will vote for the Heroes Act when it comes to the House Floor for final passage this evening. The broad relief legislation is expected to pass on with bipartisan support.

Beyer said:

“The Heroes Act takes strong steps to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic devastation. It contains key provisions I sought, and I fully support it. This is the kind of far-reaching and forward-thinking approach that Congress must take to protect American lives and livelihoods.

“The Heroes Act ensures that public health officials will have the resources they need to test, trace, and isolate coronavirus cases to allow for the safe reopening of businesses. The also requires better standards to ensure that American workers return to safe workplaces, and creates an ample fund to support frontline workers. It also contains major priorities for my constituents, including support for voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service, the Census, and the District Columbia.

“There were things that I wanted to see in this bill that did not get in, especially my legislation to attach expanded unemployment benefits to automatic triggers which would ensure that workers get the help they need as long as the crisis continues. But the Heroes Act does extend those benefits into 2021, and contains enormous rental assistance along with boosts to nutritional supports. The direct payments in this bill would really help working families, and the small business assistance reflects priorities I pushed hard for over the past month.

“I am particularly proud to see such strong support for state and local governments, which we at the Joint Economic Committee called for early in the crisis. Those like Mitch McConnell who would let states and municipalities go bankrupt would inflict mass layoffs on health workers, teachers, police, and firefighters, making the country less safe and a depression more likely. This bill correctly treats the pandemic and economic crisis as an emergency, and takes strong steps to improve the health response and plant the seeds for a robust recovery, which is exactly what Congress should be doing.”

Beyer serves as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, which issued a report early in the economic crisis outlining the need for major federal support for state and local governments. He expressed his intention to continue to building support for the Worker Relief and Security Act, which would tie expanded unemployment benefits to public health and economic conditions, in an interview with the New York Times this week.

Beyer was an early supporter of direct payments to every American, and helped advance a proposal in the House to enact the policy. He has also been a vocal leader in assessing and correcting problems with CARES Act programs intended to assist small businesses.

The Heroes Act provides Virginia government and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with substantial, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and prevent layoffs of health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe. It also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education. 

In addition to resources for 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.

  • 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.
  • Corrects unjust discrimination against the District of Columbia with a retroactive change to the CARES Act that restores D.C. to its normal treatment as a state for purposes of distributing federal grants. The fix would direct nearly $800 million in additional CARES Act funds to the District.
  • Provides strong support for frontline workers by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.  
  • 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 into 2021.
  • 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.
  • Protects our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service. 
  • Ensures further support for Virginians and all Americans, including for: