CAPAC Chair Rep. Chu Statement on Heroes Act

May 15, 2020 Issues: Economic Development, Healthcare, Housing

The House of Representatives today passed H.R 6800, the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion bill to support businesses, families, and state and local governments as the coronavirus crisis continues. Under the Heroes Act, State and local governments would receive billions to help maintain payrolls and make up for lost revenue due to stay-at-home orders. Small businesses would see additional relief under an expanded Paycheck Protection Program that will last to December 31st, 2020, and is more targeted to underserved communities. Because this pandemic has lasted longer than initially anticipated, the improved PPP also allows for more flexibility to help struggling employers maintain their staff and businesses by allowing the money to be used over 24 weeks instead of just eight. Employers will also receive a larger tax credit to cover the cost of paid sick and family leave so workers can stay home without risking their paychecks. Those workers who have lost their jobs will be able to continue to access federal unemployment insurance, including the supplemental $600 per week, through January 31, 2021, and all taxpayers will receive a second stimulus check. Crucially, this bill improves upon the previous stimulus by ensuring that the stimulus checks are distributed even to those who do not have a social security number but work and pay taxes. And in order to ensure the economy is reopened in a safe and responsible way, the bill provides $75 billion for additional testing and contact tracing.


The Heroes Act also includes a number of policies that the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) had advocated for in a letter sent to House leadership earlier this month that will be beneficial to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including disaggregated data on COVID-19 cases, language access for SBA loans, housing protections, funding for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) and other Minority Serving Institutions, and other protections. CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) voted for the bill and issued the following statement:


“These are truly unprecedented times. Businesses are closing or laying off staff. Families are being forced to make difficult choices about paying their bills or buying food. Our communities are suffering. And so Congress stepped up today with a massive $3 trillion relief bill that will help our businesses, families, and state and local governments weather the next few months of this crisis. We need to get the economy running again so families can go back to work and the economy can get back to full strength. But since we can’t have a healthy economy without healthy workers, this bill commits another $75 billion for testing and contact tracing so that we can implement a science-based path to safely reopening our country. And it includes an additional $100 billion in funding for our healthcare providers who are fighting this virus every day on the front lines.


“We also need struggling families to know they’re secure in their homes. So the Heroes Act provides a total $175 billion to help with mortgages, property taxes and rent payments, and it extends unemployment insurance to cover workers until January 31, 2021. It also improves PPP by ensuring full forgiveness, and more support and tax credits for businesses to help with rents, bills, and salaries so that more workers stay paid and know their jobs are waiting for them. But, as we saw with previous relief efforts, the most vulnerable will still fall through the cracks. That is why I led the effort to provide $10 billion for essential emergency assistance to vulnerable children, families, and individuals. This money, provided through Social Security Block Grants, will go to local governments and community organizations with a record of providing basic wellbeing necessities like food, shelter, and supplies to vulnerable families. Families would receive additional help in the form of a second stimulus check of $1,200 for individuals, up to $6,000 per family. Crucially, this bill corrects a major oversight in the last round of stimulus payments by ensuring that immigrants who file taxes with an ITIN number are also included, ensuring every community is part of the recovery.


“I am grateful that many of our proposals to ensure AAPIs are not left out of the recovery were included in this bill. These are just a few of the policies in the Heroes Act, but it represents our vision for what must still be done before we can reopen the economy. We know we cannot afford to wait and I hope the Senate joins us to help people who are in urgent need right now.”