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'Updated Heroes Act': US House Democrats Unveil $2.2 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Proposal

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteEast Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen under stormy skies
East Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen under stormy skies - Sputnik International
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has unveiled a massive new spending bill intended to provide further financial relief for businesses and institutions hurt by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to fellow Democrats on Monday, the California congresswoman unveiled an "updated HEROES Act," reviving the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act Democrats attempted to pass in May before it was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate.

In the letter, Pelosi describes the move as "our proffer to Republicans to come to negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country."

​"It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell hit the pause button. In our negotiations with the White House since then, Democrats offered to come down a trillion dollars if Republicans would come up a trillion dollars. Then, we offered to come down $200 billion more, even as the health and economic crisis has worsened and the needs have only grown," Pelosi wrote.

"Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing Americas working families right now. We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now," she continued.

An attached one-sheet summary of the new bill elaborates upon its central provisions.

​According to the sheet, the bill includes funding for small businesses in the form of extensions to the Paycheck Protection Program as well as new loans; additional assistance for airline industry workers; funding for all levels of education as well as child care; assistance to state and local governments to plug holes in their budgets for essential state workers, including first responders and health workers; additional funding for COVID-19 testing; direct payments to families of $1,200 per family, plus $500 per dependent; and funding for a wide variety of other state assistance programs, including in health care, housing and food.

It also includes money to support the 2020 Census and to preserve the US Postal Service, which has faced extensive restructuring amid chronic underfunding.

When the House first passed the HEROES Act on May 16, it came on the heels of the massive $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in late March. After McConnell "hit the pause button" on the spending proposal, no further stimulus bills were passed, including stimulus checks like those distributing by the CARES Act. When additional unemployment benefits were set to expire in August, a considerable struggle ensued even over reduced payments, with US President Donald Trump eventually weighing in on the issue via executive order.
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