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Meng Statement on the Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release
Congresswoman returned to nation’s capital to vote for the fourth coronavirus aid package
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement tonight after passage of the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) in the House of Representatives.
“This is an unprecedented moment in history and it requires an unprecedented response by Congress. I was proud to join my colleagues today to pass legislation that puts families and frontline workers first. As a representative of Queens, I have seen firsthand the pain and suffering the coronavirus has caused, and how many of my constituents are hurting and need help,” said Meng. “Given the scale and scope of this damage, we must address this crisis with measures that meet the gravity of this moment. The sobering statistics of this national health crisis paint a grim picture in our country: over 84,000 people have died, there are nearly 1.4 million confirmed cases, and over 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. People are hurting; they’re scared for their safety and their health. Many are worried about how to pay their rent or mortgage, and how to put food on the table. They need a lifeline, and the Heroes Act provides one.”
“As the novel coronavirus continues to harm the nation’s socio-economic health, the Heroes Act would invest desperately needed funding into existing programs and new initiatives to help those impacted by the pandemic. Among the provisions are nearly a $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments, and a second round of more substantial economic stimulus payments that will ease the financial burden many are experiencing due to COVID-19.”
“I was especially pleased to see that the Heroes Act includes hazard pay for all of our frontline workers – a provision for which I strongly advocated,” Meng added. “Many of these essential frontline workers are often overlooked. It is only just to see property service workers, agricultural workers, warehouse employees, and grocery store employees, covered by this provision. Our janitors, security officers, residential door persons and others are often left out of these conversations, but they are crucial to keeping key buildings and facilities up and running.”
“The Senate must act and pass the Heroes Act swiftly.”
Items in the bill that Meng fought to secure include:
  • More cash assistance to families and children.
  • $200 billion to fund hazard pay for frontline workers, and defining this broad category of essential workers who have put their health and safety on the line to keep NY and the nation running.
  • Expansion and increase in funding for SNAP, and allowing the program to cover hot food purchases from retailers. No one should go hungry – not during this crisis, and not ever.
  • Ability of immigrants who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) to receive economic stimulus payments, and making these funds retroactive.
  • Extension of work permits for immigrants, many of whom are serving as essential workers on the frontlines of combating the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Inclusion of her legislation, the Emergency Educational Connections Act (H.R. 6563), which would provide $1.5 billion for internet access for students who are doing remote learning. No student should get left behind because they don’t have internet access.
  • Nearly $200 billion to help struggling renters and homeowners pay their rent and mortgages to help them stay in their homes.
  • Billions for coronavirus testing and contract tracing, both critical components to combating the spread of the virus, and eventually re-opening our nation.
  • More money to New York State and New York City – the nexus of this pandemic.
  • Extensions of the enhanced unemployment insurance through January 2021 to provide relief for those who are struggling after losing their jobs.
  • Elimination of the 75/25 rule for the Paycheck Protection Program, and an increase in the flexibility of PPP loan usage from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
H.R. 6800 now goes to the U.S. Senate.