Speech ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
October 1, 2020
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the updated Heroes Act to address the coronavirus crisis and meet the needs of struggling families:

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“Madam Speaker, the House passed the Heroes Act more than four and a half months ago. At the time, around 85,000 Americans had lost their lives to Covid-19. Today, that sad figure is at more than 205,000. The House did its job in May for the American people, yet the Republican Senate and President Trump have still not done theirs.
“Though negotiations are continuing toward what I hope will be bipartisan agreement on legislation to help the American people and our economy get through this pandemic, the people’s House should, after four and a half months of Senate delay and inaction, set forth a reasonable compromise.
“That’s why, today, we will pass a bill that achieves the goals of the Heroes Act and represents a reasonable compromise. Notwithstanding passage of this bill, House Democrats will continue to negotiate to reach the kind of bipartisan agreement that we believe is necessary to help Americans get through this crisis. But our position is clear: the federal government cannot shirk its responsibility to the people it serves.
“That includes support for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to keep essential employees like teachers, police, fire, E.M.S., sanitation workers, and others on the job helping to fight Covid-19 and support our families and our economy. While the Heroes Act provided the level of fiscal support unanimously recommended by the National Governors Association, this bill recognizes the reality that – faced with a Senate Republican Leader who suggested that the states go bankrupt – that level might not be possible. So, we offer a compromise: one year of funding, cutting in half that which was in the Heroes Act, yet still sufficient to get us into next year.
“This legislation renews the expanded emergency unemployment insurance benefits that provide Americans waiting to get back to work with an extra $600 a week through the end of January 2021 – which will help small businesses and the general economy. It will provide another round of direct payments to Americans of $1,200 for each individual adult and $500 for two eligible dependents to help families make ends meet. And we are making sure college students aren’t left out.
“Our bill offers a second round of the paycheck protection program to help small businesses remain viable through the pandemic and includes additional support for workers in the airline, restaurant, and live-entertainment industries to prevent further job losses. To help reopen our economy safely, this bill also includes $75 billion for testing and contact tracing and other public health initiatives. And it provides a lifeline to the U.S. Postal Service and funding to ensure election integrity and for a complete and accurate 2020 Census.
“I want to thank Chairwoman Nita Lowey of the Appropriations Committee and all the other chairs and members who worked hard on this legislation. It includes input and contributions from many members, including many of our outstanding freshmen. This bill represents a substantial reduction in the Heroes Act that passed in May.   It approximates the level of funding in the CARES Act, which passed the House on March 27 by a voice vote. That vote was one of five the House has taken to address the Covid-19 crisis. We passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill on March 4 by a vote of 415-2. We passed the Families First Act on March 14 by a vote of 363-40. The CARES Act, as I mentioned, was passed by voice vote on March 27. And the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act was passed by the House on April 23 by a vote of 383-5. All four of those bills passed the Senate and were signed into law.
“I urge President Trump and Senate Republicans to work with us to reach bipartisan agreement without further delay. Millions of American families, workers, and small business owners are looking to Congress for help. Let us come together, as we have four times before, to help Americans respond to the crisis of Covid-19. This bill represents a significant compromise, while addressing the priorities we share. I hope we can show the American people that we can come together to govern responsibly in this crisis and provide much-needed relief to the people we serve.”