Stimulus Checks: Why the HEROES Act Hasn't Been Passed

With the GOP's proposed stimulus package, the HEALS Act, gaining bipartisan opposition, many are wondering why the previously-proposed, Democratic-backed HEROES Act isn't getting its spotlight on the Senate floor. Proposed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in May, the HEROES Act was quickly approved by the House of Representatives in a vote of 208-199 later that month. However, it has mostly disappeared from conversation ever since never even reaching the negotiation stage.

Although it gained widespread support among Democrats, it did not receive nearly the same amount of fanfare among Republicans. Among the most contentious aspects of the package was its $3 trillion price tag, something that surpassed that of the $2 trillion CARES Act that was signed by President Donald Trump in late March. As congressional lawmakers began discussing a new stimulus package, several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressed a desire to keep any further bill at or below the $1 trillion, citing concern for the national debt.

After narrowly passing the House, criticism of the bill only grew among Republicans, with McConnell dubbing it a "$3 trillion left-wing wish list." Some slammed the package for including "far-left ideas like stimulus checks for illegal immigrants," referring to Democrats' wish to extend stimulus payments to Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers and their families, according to USA Today. After saying that it was "dead upon arrival" in the Senate, President Donald Trump even threatened to veto the HEROES Act if it ever made it to his desk.

"This proposed legislation, however, is more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wish lists than with enhancing the ability of our nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face," the Trump administration said. "If H.R. 6800 were presented to the president, his advisers would recommend that he veto the bill."

Republicans, as McConnell had tweeted, were more focused "on practical solutions like legal liability protections for medical workers and the schools, universities, and businesses that will be trying to re-open," and the HEROES Act mostly fell wayside as the GOP worked to bring about their proposal. That proposal, revealed Monday, mainly targets the health of the nation, the economy, liability protections, and schools. Met with fierce backlash, some Democrats are again calling for the HEROES Act to have a second chance. The HEALS Act is currently in the negotiations stage, with members of Congress making efforts to approve it by Aug. 7.