Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have released their coronavirus relief bill and hope to bring it to a vote as early as Friday.
The 1,800-page Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes nearly $1 trillion in relief for state and local governments as well as payroll assistance for small-businesses and a strengthened employee retention tax credit.
It also includes rent, mortgage, and utility assistance and provisions to assist farmers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a statement Tuesday, said the bill reflected a “think big” approach that had been encouraged by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
“The low interest rate and the prospect of access to credit has altered the stock market. We intend to use those low interest rates to bolster the American people. We must think big for the people now because if we don’t it will cost more in lives and livelihood later,” Pelosi said.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to “hit pause” on coronavirus relief spending.
“This is not a time for aspirational legislation. This is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic. And so we’re going to insist on doing narrowly targeted legislation, if and when we do legislate again, and we may well, that addresses the problems, the needs, and not the aspirations of the Democratic majority in the House,” McConnell.
In addition to assistance for state and local governments, the bill includes $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers who face heightened health risks, and a second round of direct payments to individuals.
It also includes relief for the U.S. Postal Service and election-security assistance, including provisions to make voting by mail easier.
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