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Pingree: Heroes Act Would Extend Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Through 2021, Provide 2nd Round of Stimulus Checks

US House’s Latest Pandemic Response Legislation Would Make All Dependents Eligible for New Round of $1,200 Payments, Up to $6,000 Per Family

Today Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) said The Heroes Act, a comprehensive COVID-19 recovery package up for a vote in the U.S. House tomorrow, would extend unemployment benefits until January 2021 for the 36 million Americans who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Pingree said the bill would deliver a second round of stimulus payments, up to $1,200 for a single filer and $2,400 for joint filers, in addition to $1,200 per dependent up to a maximum of three dependents. Unlike the previously passed CARES Act, the Heroes Act would make all dependents eligible for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, including full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents. Unlike the CARES Act, the Heroes Act would also permit taxpayers without Social Security Numbers, and those in their households, to receive Economic Impact Payments using a Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If passed the Heroes Act would make both of these provisions retroactive and allow eligible dependents and taxpayers with ITINs to receive their $500 or $1,200 from the first round of economic stimulus payments.

“Almost 3 million U.S. workers filed jobless claims in the last week alone, including another 21,000 Mainers. So many Mainers have sacrificed in order to save lives and stem the spread of COVID-19 – we need to do everything we can to protect workers and keep families afloat. The Heroes Act would support Americans suffering these devastating losses in several ways, including by extending Pandemic Unemployment Benefits through 2021 and providing a second round of stimulus payments in this bill,” said Pingree. “In just two months 36 million people in our country have lost their jobs; 40% of them already made less than $40,000 a year. For the betterment of their lives and to help our economy ultimately bounce back, we must pass the Heroes Act tomorrow.”

The Heroes Act would also provide pandemic premium pay of an additional $13 per hour up to $10,000 to “essential” workers who cannot telework and must regularly interact with others in the workplace. 

Other benefits in the Heroes Act for frontline “essential” workers and recently unemployed Americans include:

  • Increases Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% and excludes additional unemployment compensation in benefit calculation. Increases minimum to $30/month. Prevents implementation of USDA’s proposed restrictive rules on food assistance and allows for the purchase of hot foods.
  • Requires Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard within 7 days to protect frontline essential workers
  • $3.1 billion for worker training and support for State Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs
  • Ensures that states can waive 50 percent of the unemployment share amount owed by government entities and nonprofits
  • Clarifies and expands paid sick and family leave, including removing exemption for businesses with <50 employees



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