Welch Supports $3 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package To Help Impacted Communities
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion bill, the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), late Friday night to address the unprecedented and ongoing economic and public health crisis. The bill would provide direct aid to individuals and help first responders, small businesses, and state and local governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our response to this devastating pandemic must rise to the unprecedented challenge in front of us,” said Welch. “Vermont communities need relief now and this bill would provide it in a big way. This bill includes strong support for our first responders working around the clock to keep us healthy and safe, critical money for struggling state governments, important reforms for small businesses receiving PPP loans, and direct help for Americans struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table.”
The Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) includes:
- $875 billion in state and local assistance. The state of Vermont and localities would receive more than $3 billion over two years.
- Increasing the maximum benefit for Vermonters receiving food assistance through 3SquaresVT by 15%.
- Flexibility for small businesses with PPP loans so that those loans work for them.
- $100 billion in grants for states to support educational institutions.
- $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service.
- $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers.
- $16.5 billion in direct payments for farmers and $500 million to create a dairy donation program to prevent milk dumping.
The bill also provides an additional $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures and requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a national testing strategy so that states have the resources and guidance to safely and responsibly reopen. These provisions are similar to those in the Reopen America Act (H.R. 6525), which was introduced by Rep. Welch and his colleagues on April 17, 2020.
The bill passed the House on a 208-199 vote and now heads to the Senate. A section-by-section summary of the bill from the House Appropriations Committee can be found here. Rep. Welch urged his colleagues to pass the bill in a speech on the floor.