Special to The Dallas Examiner
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, by a vote of 208-199, May 15.
The HEROES Act is House Democrats’ latest legislation to address the continued public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for struggling families and essential workers, with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers, and strengthened assistance for the American people.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas-30, praised the estimated direct benefits The HEROES Act would provide to Texas and to District 30.
“I am proud to stand with my colleagues to pass this critical legislation in support of our heroes on the front lines of this crisis,” Johnson said. “The HEROES Act takes the bold, far-reaching steps that the coronavirus crisis demands and that the American people deserve – it narrowly passed the House and needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the president to become law. The American people deserve our support at this unprecedented time.”
The act will provide Texas government and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs, according to Johnson.
An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the act will provide $35 billion through the next two years for the state of Texas, in addition to urgently needed funding for District-30 communities:
- City of Dallas – $1.1 billion
- City of Cedar Hill -$24 million
- City of DeSoto – $22 million
- City of Duncanville – $19 million
- City of Lancaster – $19 million
- City of Glenn Heights – $5 million
- City of Hutchins – $3 million
- City of Wilmer – $2.4 million
It also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $9,242,958 for Texas communities. This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary and public higher education. The funding will also be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning and emergency financial aid for college students as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.
Additionally, the HEROES Act includes the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, legislation that Congresswoman Johnson introduced that directs the Federal Communications Commission to designate 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. The system would include the Veterans Crisis Line to specifically support veterans seeking mental health support. The bill authorizes states to collect a fee limited to supporting local crisis call centers that are affiliated within the national network of enhancements of such services.
“As a former chief psychiatric nurse, I have spent my career advocating for more accessible mental health resources in our communities, especially during such times of drastic health and economic upheaval,” Johnson said. “I am proud to announce that the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act has been included in the HEROES Act. We must push to designate a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, so that our constituents have a simplified access to this hotline in their times of need.”
The act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy:
- Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion HEROES’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.
- Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
- Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
- Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
- Ensures further support for Texans and all Americans, including for:
– Health security – with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the Affordable Care Act exchanges for those without insurance.
– Workplace security – requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems.
– Housing security – with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs.
– Food security – with a 15% increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table. Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census and preserve the Postal Service.