Seeing as though there isn't a clear end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been much discussion regarding a possible second round of stimulus payments. On Friday, the House of Representatives officially passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would entitle eligible Americans to another $1,200 check (and up to $6,000 per household) if it is signed into law. What exactly does this act entail? And what do various lawmakers have to say about it? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the HEROES Act.
In late March, the White House and Congress agreed to a historic $2 trillion stimulus package. The package entitled eligible Americans to a one-time check of $1,200 (or $2,400 for married couples filing a joint tax return). Many of those checks have already been sent out (although, there is a large number of people who have still not received their checks yet). Since many checks have been sent out, talk has turned towards a possible second round of stimulus payments. Now, Democrats in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have unveiled their new plan for the country.
While the HEROES Act has passed in the House of Representatives, it still has to be approved by the Senate and go through several rounds of legislation before it can be signed into law. In advance of these next steps, here's everything you need to know about this potential new stimulus package.
When The Bill Was First Proposed
Pelosi first unveiled this new proposal on Tuesday, which she announced was entitled the HEROES Act. The House of Representatives then voted on the bill on Friday and it passed with a close margin of 208-199.
What The Act Entails
The HEROES Act would provide eligible Americans with a check of $1,200 for individuals and up to $6,000 for households. Additionally, it also would provide for a wide range of funding for various groups, including hazard pay, coronavirus testing, and rent and mortgage assistance. Unlike the CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package that the White House and Congress agreed to in late March, the HEROES Act would entail payments to some immigrants and dependents aged 17 and older.
What Pelosi Has Said
On Tuesday, Pelosi said that the government has a "momentous opportunity" to meet the needs of Americans amidst this ongoing pandemic. She shared, regarding this new stimulus package, "Not to act now is not only irresponsible in a humanitarian way, it is irresponsible because it’s only going to cost more. More in terms of lives, livelihood, cost to the budget, cost to our democracy."
How Republicans Have Reacted
Many Republicans have spoken out against the HEROES Act. Senator Lindsay Graham shared that this act would "never see the light of day" when it heads to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also voiced his criticisms for this act in a series of fiery tweets. He wrote, in part, that the HEROES Act "still reads like the Speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word 'coronavirus' on top of it."
President Donald Trump did not hold back what he thought about the HEROES Act when asked about the measure on Wednesday. Just like Republican lawmakers, Trump believes that the act will be "dead on arrival" when it heads to the Senate.
Other Lawmakers' Opinions
Republicans aren't the only ones who have criticized this act. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, wrote on Twitter that he doesn't believe that $1,200 will "cut it" for many Americans. Sanders, along with Sens. Kamala Harris and Ed Markey, has previously issued his own proposal that would provide a possible $2,000 monthly check to individuals amidst this health crisis.
Other Possible Stimulus Plans
In addition to Sanders' proposal, there are a couple of others floating around Congress at the moment. The Emergency Money for the People Act, the Getting Back to Work Act, the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, and a proposal from Sen. Sherrod Brown have all been proposed in recent weeks. However, none of these acts have made it through the entire legislative process just yet.