House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled a fifth coronavirus relief package Tuesday, describing COVID-19 as the “biggest catastrophe in our nation’s history.”
The pompously-titled HEROES Act includes another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans and allocates roughly $1 trillion to state, local, and tribal governments to help them cope with the effects of COVID-19.
“This is a moment when many millions of our fellow Americans are in deep suffering,” said Pelosi during a televised address. “We must have empathy for our heroes…We must also empathize with the pain of families who do to know where their next meals are coming from and how to pay next month’s rent.”
Also included in the package:
- Extends unemployment benefits through January
- Pauses student loan payments through September
- Increases SNAP benefits by 15%
- Gives $25 billion to the US Postal Service
- Creates a $175 billion fund to help Americans with rent/mortgages
- Creates a $200 billion fund to provide hazard pay for “heroes” in the public service workforce
- Directs OSHA to craft new safety standard for employers
- Extends the Paycheck Protection Program from 8 weeks to 24 weeks
As expected, GOP leaders are hesitant to continue throwing money at the pandemic while businesses remain closed. The US Treasury has already borrowed $3 trillion to fund the first four COVID-19 packages, and this newest package contains partisan objectives that Republicans won’t support (mail-in voting for the November election, funding for Planned Parenthood, relief dollars to sanctuary cities, etc.).
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused Pelosi of drafting a “liberal wishlist” during a Congressional recess. “This is not how democracy works,” he said .
The HEROES Act is nothing more than a “messaging exercise,” complained Senator John Thune (R-SD).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed concerns that it is too early to move forward with another relief package. “We’re basically assessing what we’ve done already. I’m in constant communication with the White House, and if we decide to go forward, we’ll go forward together,” said McConnell. “I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet.”
House lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill this Friday.
Author’s Note: The HEROES Act is a blatant move to influence the election. If Republicans support it, they will be blamed for increasing the national debt. If Republicans do not support it, they will be accused of abandoning Americans in their time of need.
I expect the Senate to delay this bill as long as possible to put some distance between the peak of the pandemic and the election issues.
Editor’s Note: Note that she wants to give a trillion dollars to states – obviously the Democrat led states who have a huge debt. Plus there is a great deal in this that have absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus emergency.