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Pallone Statement on Heroes Act

May 12, 2020
Press Release
Fifth Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Delivers Critical Economic Aid to State and Local Governments

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) released the following statement on the introduction of The Heroes Act in the House of Representatives today:

“The coronavirus pandemic requires a response from Congress that meets the challenge this public health crisis poses to our country and to my home state of New Jersey. The Heroes Act includes nearly $3 trillion to protect the lives and livelihoods of hardworking Americans. It also delivers aid to state and local governments that will help the hardest hit states like New Jersey. If passed, this bill could deliver over $16.6 billion to the state of New Jersey and $1.2 billion to cities and towns in my district. That’s why it’s so critical that Republicans support this legislation and get it to the President’s desk for a signature. We simply cannot allow state and local governments to fall into bankruptcy at a time when they are providing vital services to residents,” Pallone said.

“I’m pleased that this bill includes an additional $100 million in federal aid for fishing communities, which will go a long way to help the commercial and charter fishing industries up and down the Jersey Shore. The increase in funding to SNAP, food banks, and other food and nutrition programs will also help curb the crisis of hunger that families in New Jersey and across the country are facing during this economic crisis,” Pallone continued. “The elimination of the state and local tax deduction cap this tax year and next proposed by this bill would also give financial relief to families in New Jersey.

“As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I fought for provisions in this bill to bolster COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, ensure that COVID-19 treatment is free, protect consumers, provide utility relief for low income communities, and keep Americans connected to the Internet,” Pallone continued. “We cannot safely reopen the economy without a national testing strategy. The Heroes Act requires the Trump Administration to finally develop comprehensive plans for robust testing and contact tracing and provides the funding necessary to implement it. This legislation ensures that everyone has access to health care coverage and can seek treatment for COVID-19 without any out-of-pocket costs.

“The Heroes Act would protect Americans from price gouging during this national emergency and ensure every American has access to essential goods at fair prices. It’s also critical to protect public health and to provide much-needed economic relief for those struggling to afford the most basic necessities. That’s why this bill has provisions that will prevent water and power shutoffs across the country, provide critical utility bill assistance for low-income families, and authorize new grant funding to address COVID-19’s impact on environmental justice communities,” Pallone continued. “The Heroes Act keeps our kids safe and digitally connected, by providing $1.5 billion immediately for online distance learning. It also gives much-needed support to struggling families, those who are low-income or have someone in the family who has been furloughed or laid off, by providing them a monthly credit of up to $50 on their internet service bills. 

“The health and economic wellbeing of the American people is my top priority. This legislation builds on the progress we have made and lays the foundation we will need in order to ease social distancing and safely reopen the economy. It’s now incumbent on the Senate to take up this legislation and get it to President’s desk for a signature,” Pallone concluded.

The Heroes Act includes:

  • $500 billion for state governments and $375 billion for local governments to assist with the impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. If the legislation became law, it is estimated that New Jersey would receive $16.6 billion and cities and towns in New Jersey would receive $11.2 billion.
  • $100 billion for health care providers along with requirements that the funding is distributed to providers in an equitable and efficient way.
  • $75 billion for public health departments and workforce agencies to support testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and containment and mitigation activities with special consideration for hot spots and populations experiencing disparities. 
  • $10 billion to support small businesses with COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 
  • $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to coronavirus.
  • $90 billion for grants to states to support statewide and local funding for elementary and secondary schools and public postsecondary institutions.
  • $10.15 billion to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students.
  • $25 billion to support the United States Postal Service.
  • $1.5 billion for schools and libraries to purchase hotspots, connected devices, connectivity and related equipment to facilitate distance learning during the emergency.
  • $4 billion to connect struggling families by providing up to $50 a month— for eligible low-income families and for those that have been laid off or furloughed—to pay their internet service bills during the emergency.
  • $1.1 billion to provide access to nutritious foods through the Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC).
  • ​$150 million to help local food banks meet increased demand.
  • $100 million for Fishery Disaster Assistance for tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants, in response to economic injury precipitated by the coronavirus. 

The legislation follows other coronavirus stimulus bills that Pallone helped author, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act enacted on April 24; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted on March 18; and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on March 6.

The text of The Heroes Act is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.