Speech ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
May 15, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Heroes Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video: 

Click here to watch the video.
“Madam Speaker, to date, more than 85,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and that number continues to grow. More than 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance over the past eight weeks, which is more than one in every five American workers.
“This is a public health and economic crisis like no other this nation has faced. It is clear that Congress has a duty to act.  We have already enacted four major laws to address the impacts of this pandemic, and today, the House is moving forward with its next major legislative package.
“The Heroes Act will dedicate $1 trillion toward assisting our front-line heroes by providing grants to states, cities, counties, territories, and tribal areas. As state and local government revenues decline sharply, this will not only directly support first responders and health care workers, but it will also keep teachers from losing their jobs as they contribute to this great national effort by blazing trails in virtual learning.
“Our bill would provide an additional $75 billion to ramp up a national, coordinated effort for testing and contact tracing, which will be critical to any effort to reopen our economy so that we aren’t back here over and over again confronting the fallout from this pandemic.
“It would also require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, to establish a clear and enforceable standard within seven days to require workplaces to develop and implement plans to keep workers safe on the job – and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who report problems with infection control. 
“The Heroes Act allocates $175 billion to help renters and homeowners afford their monthly payments and utility bills as they deal with lost incomes. It increases SNAP benefits by fifteen percent to help those facing hunger. And it protects our democracy by allocating additional resources to protect the 2020 Census and secure our elections, as well as ensuring that the U.S. Postal Service provides its essential service.
“As this crisis continues, the Heroes Act will provide direct payments to give additional help to those who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to pay their bills and support their families. It extends for six additional months the unemployment compensation program created under the CARES Act, including its additional $600 per week and expanded eligibility to the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers, while providing needed funding to state agencies to handle the historic influx of new unemployment claims. And it strengthens the Payroll Protection Program by making sure it can benefit underserved communities and nonprofits of any size as well as provides $10 billion toward small business loans through the EIDL program.
“It protects the independence of Inspectors General so that they can strengthen oversight without the fear of reprisal from this Administration.  The Heroes Act also protects health care coverage by expanding COBRA subsidies and by allowing a special open-enrollment period in the federal and state health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.
“Madam Speaker, this is the legislation the American people expect from their representatives during this crisis. It is a bold response to an unprecedented challenge.
“So far, we have demonstrated unity in the face of this pandemic when it comes to enacting necessary legislation, and I hope Republicans will join us to display such unity again today. In the Heroes Act, we can say in one voice to the American people: ‘we’re in this together.’
“When the House passes this bill, I urge the Senate to work with us and with the White House so we can enact the next Coronavirus response legislation and prove to our people that their government is working for them. I want to thank Chairwoman Lowey and all the other Chairs and Members who worked hard on this legislation. And I urge all of my colleagues to vote yes.”