This past Friday, the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (Heroes Act). The 1,815-page legislation would provide a $3 trillion follow-up to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act aid passed into law in March.
The HEROES Act, developed by House Democrats, includes a variety of Democratic priority items and passed the House with only one Republican vote. While the bill has little chance at passage in the Republican-controlled Senate and has already drawn a veto threat from the White House, it creates a foundation for coronavirus-aid negotiations to move forward.
Particularly significant for regions is the focus that the bill puts on state and local funding, which was an advocacy priority for NARC and other local partners. The bill would provide $915 billion for state, local, tribal, and territorial funding, with $375 billion of that funding going to local governments.
The bill also includes a variety of other provisions including $435 billion for another round of direct payments to households and $100 billion to provide emergency assistance for low-income renters at risk of eviction.
Continue reading below for a further breakdown of the bill’s contents, with a focus on key items for regions including transportation and economic development provisions:
Local & State Budgetary Relief
SALT Deduction – Eliminates the limitation on the deduction for state and local taxes for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2021.
Local Fiscal Relief – $375 billion in funding to assist local governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
Tribal Fiscal Relief – $20 billion in funding to assist Tribal governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund Repayment to DC – Provides an additional $755 million for the District of Columbia to assist with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
State Fiscal Relief – $500 billion in funding to assist state governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
Elections – $3.6 billion for grants to States for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for Federal office.
- Federal Highway Administration: $15 billion for Federal Highway Administration programs ($14.775B for States and District of Columbia, $150M for Tribal Transportation Program, $60M for Puerto Rico Highway Program, $15M for Territorial Highway Program) apportioned in the same ratio as under fiscal year 2020 appropriations legislation
- Suballocation: A portion of funds to states are further suballocated to areas with population greater than 200,000 in the same ratio that funds were suballocated to these areas in fiscal year 2020 approprations
- Eligible Uses: All funds (for States and the suballocated portion) can be used for:
- Activities allowed under the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program;
- administrative and operations expenses;
- information technology needs; and
- availability payments.
- 100 Percent Federal Share: Funds obligated under this act and any funds subject to obligations limitations in the FY2020 transportation appropriations that are obligated after the date of passage of this legislation are eligible for a federal share of costs up to 100 percent.
- Federal Transit Administration: $15.75 billion for Public Transportation Emergency Relief ($11.75B for grants to urbanized areas with population over 3M; $4.0B for grants to transit agencies that require significant additional assistance due to coronavirus)
Economic and Community Development
Community Development Block Grant –$5 billion for coronavirus response and to mitigate the impacts in our communities to be distributed by formula to current grantees.
Homeless Assistance Grants – $11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the impact of coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and diversion activities to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Emergency Rental Assistance – $100 billion to provide emergency assistance to help low income renters at risk of homelessness avoid eviction due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Housing for the Elderly – $500 million to maintain operations at properties providing affordable housing for low income seniors and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure access to supportive services for this vulnerable population, this includes $300 million for service coordinators and the continuation of existing congregate service grants for residents of assisted housing projects.
Housing for Persons with Disabilities – $200 million to maintain operations at properties providing affordable housing for low income persons with disabilities, and to ensure housing providers can take the necessary actions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Census Bureau, Periodic Censuses, and Programs – $400 million for expenses due to delays in the 2020 Decennial Census in response to the coronavirus.
Census Bureau, Current Surveys, and Programs – $10 million for expenses incurred as a result of the coronavirus.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Provides $10 billion to support anticipated increases in participation and to cover program cost increases related to flexibilities provided to SNAP by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Broadband – $1.5 billion to close the homework gap by providing funding for WiFi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.
Assisting Small Businesses – $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Indian Health Service – $2.1 billion to address health care needs related to coronavirus for Native Americans.
Department of Labor – $3.1 billion to support workforce training and worker protection activities related to coronavirus, including:
- $2 billion to support worker training;
- $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency supportive services;
- $925 million to assist States in processing unemployment insurance claims;
- $15 million for the federal administration of unemployment insurance activities;
- $100 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace protection and enforcement activities in response to coronavirus, including $25 million for Susan Harwood training grants that protect and educate workers;
- $6.5 million for the Wage and Hour Division to support enforcement and outreach activities for paid leave benefits; and
- $5 million for the Office of the Inspector General.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – $2.1 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including:
- $2 billion for State, local, Territorial, and Tribal Public Health Departments; and
- $130 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.
Administration for Children and Families – $10.1 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children through programs including:
- $7 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants;
- $1.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
- $1.5 billion to support paying water bills for low income families$50 million for Family Violence Prevention and Services;
- $20 million for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) State Grants; and
- $20 million for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Grants.
Administration for Community Living – $100 million to provide direct services such as home delivered and prepackaged meals, and supportive services for seniors and disabled individuals, and their caregivers.
Economic Development Administration:
- Application of Law: Temporarily waives prohibition on using federal funds to pay for consultants or counsel to allow EDA grantees to pay consultants to help develop grant applications for funds under the CARES Act.
- Federal Share: Temporarily waives matching fund requirements due to plummeting local government revenues for grants funded under the FY 19 disaster supplemental, CARES Act supplemental funding, and FY 20 appropriations.
- Disaster Recovery Office: Grants EDA disaster hiring authority, which it currently does not have, and defederalizes the EDA revolving loan funds, which are vital lifelines to small, family owned businesses.
Additional Recovery Rebates to Individuals & Families
Provides a $1,200 refundable tax credit for each family member that shall be paid out in advance payments, similar to the Economic Impact Payments in the CARES Act. The credit is $1,200 for a single taxpayer ($2,400 for joint filers), in addition to $1,200 per dependent up to a maximum of 3 dependents. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for joint filers) at a rate of $5 per $100 of income.
For more information on the CARES Act check out these other resources: