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Pingree Statement on House Passage of The Heroes Act

Washington, May 15, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) tonight released the following statement after passage of The Heroes Act by the US House:

“The coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives in ways we could never have imagined before today. More than 84,000 Americans have lost their lives due to COVID-19 and more than 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past two months. A crisis of this magnitude deserves a serious, comprehensive response from the federal government, and that’s why I proudly support The Heroes Act. This legislation addresses many complex elements of the current public health and economic crisis, and will protect the health of Americans while making sure they have the resources to provide for their families. I am particularly relieved to see robust funding for state and local governments, which will make sure the state of Maine and its cities and towns can continue responding to this crisis effectively.”

The Heroes Act includes:

  • $875 billion in state and local funding, including more than $5 billion for the State of Maine and its localities. A breakdown of municipal funding is available here.
  • $75 billion in funding to further national and state testing and contact tracing initiatives and $110 billion in funding for providers to keep their doors open
  • Extended Pandemic Unemployment benefits through January 2021
  • A second round of stimulus checks ($1,200 for a single filer and $2,400 for joint filers, in addition to $1,200 for dependents, for up to $6,000 per family); includes expanded eligibility for adult dependents and full-time students under age 24 as well as taxpayers with Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs); these changes would be made retroactive to the CARES Act and allow newly eligible dependents and taxpayers with ITINs to receive their $500 or $1,200 payment from the first round of stimulus payments
  • Help for small businesses by extending dates for payroll forgiveness and allowing more non-payroll costs to count, and reserving 25% of PPP funds for businesses with 10 or fewer employees
  • A 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
  • A requirement for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop protections for frontline workers; pandemic premium pay of an additional $13 per hour for essential workers, up to $10,000
  • Free, no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail for every voter; $29 million in election aid for the State of Maine
  • $25 billion to preserve the United States Postal Service
  • Over $100 billion in support for education, including for K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and early childhood education providers, including $1.5 billion to close the “homework gap” by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots to students without reliable internet access and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity during distance learning
  • $16.5 billion in direct assistance to farmers and $100 million in relief funds for American fisheries
  • $50 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program, known as LAMP

 

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