Fighting for our communities
Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Heroes Act – a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that funds testing and contact tracing, aid for state and local governments, increased pay and protections for frontline workers, additional direct cash payments to American families and much more.
This pandemic is a crisis unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. And as I’ve said before, unprecedented problems call for unprecedented solutions. This bill – for which I was honored to preside over the House during part of debate – is exactly the type of bold legislation that a crisis of this magnitude requires.
Most importantly, this legislation builds on our science-based approach to safely reopening our country. It’s clear that we cannot fix our economic crisis without fixing our public health crisis. Until we have robust national testing and contact tracing system in place, Americans will not feel comfortable returning to work, schools, restaurants or businesses at pre-pandemic levels.
The Heroes Act commits another $75 billion for testing, tracing and treatment to ensure such a system can be put into place. And it will help ensure that no one has to choose between putting food on the table or paying for the cost of coronavirus treatment.
This legislation also brings much-needed economic relief to our state, local and tribal governments on the frontlines of this crisis. By allocating nearly $1 trillion to local communities, the bill will ensure that teachers, firefighters, first responders and other essential workers are able to remain on the job. And it will establish a $200 billion fund to ensure that frontline heroes receive the hazard pay they deserve.
Additionally, the legislation includes my bill to make state and local governments eligible for paid leave payroll tax credits for workers affected by the coronavirus. Without these tax credits, the costs of providing paid leave could undermine successful local coronavirus responses at a time when budgets are already strained due to reduced tax revenues caused by the economic fallout of the pandemic.
As I have advocated for many weeks, we must put more money in the pockets of workers and families. The Heroes Act would provide a second round of direct payments to families, new payroll protection measures and extended unemployment payments. It would also provide greater health security through COBRA subsidies and a special health care enrollment period, stronger workplace protections, housing security and enhanced food assistance benefits.
Some on the other side of the aisle don’t think a package of this magnitude is necessary. But I’ve spoken to teachers and firefighters worried about losing their jobs because of state budget deficits. I’ve heard from countless small business owners who fear bankruptcy. And I’ve received thousands of emails from people scared to return to work because of inadequate testing.
This includes workers like those in food processing plants here in Colorado. As I told Denver’s CBS4 this week, we must do more to protect these workers – many of whom are low-income, people of color, or immigrants – from the spread of coronavirus.
Like these workers, Americans across the country are looking to us for solutions. And that’s why the Heroes Act is so important. Now that this legislation has passed the House, I am doing everything I can to ensure the Senate joins with us to protect our communities from this unprecedented crisis.
As we continue to work through this difficult time, I will do everything I can to make sure our community has all the resources it needs.
On Wednesday, May 20 at 12:00 p.m. M.T., I will be hosting another virtual community forum to answer any questions you may have.
You can join this lunchtime virtual community forum from any computer or smartphone. If you’re interested, please RSVP by clicking here and we will email you instructions on how to join the event.
If you haven’t done so already, I would also urge you to visit our website at degette.house.gov where you can find more information from various government agencies on how best to protect yourself and our community from the spread of coronavirus.
And, as always, if you have any questions, or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 303-844-4988.
Member of Congress