Chairman Neal Floor Remarks on the Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release
(As prepared for delivery)
 
M. Speaker, I am proud to rise in support of H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act.
 
This legislation responds to the reality that over 85,000 Americans have lost their lives and 36 million Americans are now without a job.
 
My deepest condolences go out to the many families who have lost loved ones and the millions more who are now struggling to get food on the table and pay their bills. 
 
I’m proud the Ways and Means Committee stepped up to deliver substantial solutions in this latest legislation.
 
The Heroes Act includes a second round of economic impact payments to help keep Americans afloat and infuse money back into our economy. This round is more substantial for families and fixes shortcomings in the first round of payments, like those that college students and other dependents encountered. 
 
We enhanced the employee retention tax credit to keep more employees and employers connected in this crisis. This expanded version will benefit an estimated 60 million workers, and the majority of those are employees of small and mid-sized businesses. 
 
April brought about the worst plunge in unemployment since the Great Depression, which is why we’ve extended the weekly federal unemployment compensation payments through January 2021 and allocated funds to continue to support state unemployment offices.

Our frontline workers haven’t stopped since this crisis began, and we know they are under a tremendous amount of pressure right now. The Heroes Act provides flexible funding to support childcare and adult day care for essential workers to help ease their financial burden.
 
The Ways and Means Committee also had a hand in several provisions to address the persistent public health emergency that’s gripping our nation.
 
Specifically, we led the charge to make investments in nursing home safety, as these facilities have been ravaged by the virus.
 
This bill was truly a team effort. Thank you to my Ways and Means colleagues for their contributions and to the Ways and Means Committee staff who have been working around the clock since this crisis first began.  
 
The Heroes Act is a response to our current crisis and an investment in our future. I think Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell summed it up well yesterday when he said, “additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.” That’s what we are doing here today. We are investing in a fact-based approach to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people, who cannot wait any longer.
 
I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation and I yield back the balance of my time.
 
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