House Democrats unveil new $3B coronavirus relief package, with payments to state govts., businesses and essential workers

House Democrats unveiled a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief package, called the HEROES Act — which promises to provide another round of direct payments to individuals and families, as well as struggling states amid the pandemic.

Democratic leaders presented the 2,000-page bill on Tuesday, with the goal of voting on it on Friday.

Senate Republicans have slammed the measure as a “liberal wishlist.”

“There are those who’ve said let’s just pause. But the families who are suffering know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, the rent doesn’t take a pause, the bills don’t take a pause, the hardship of losing a job or tragically losing a loved one doesn’t take a pause,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker.

The HEROES Act includes:

  • $1 trillion for state and local governments
  • $200 billion dollars in hazard pay for essential workers
  • $75 billion dollars for testing people for the novel coronavirus
  • Another round of direct payments of $1,200 per individual, with up to $6,000 per household
  • $10 billion in emergency grants for small businesses
  • $25 billion for the U.S. postal service
  • An extension of enhanced federal unemployment payments through January.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell described the bill as “aspirational legislation.”

The Republican-led Senate will wait until after Memorial Day to act on it.

“This is not a time for aspirational legislation, this is the time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic. And so we’re gonna insist on doing narrowly targeted legislation if and when we do legislate again, and we may well, that addresses the problems, the needs and not the aspirations of the democratic majority in the House.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve leadership warned of the threat of a prolonged recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic — and urged Congress and the White House to get their acts together to prevent long-lasting economic devastation.

“The result could be an extended period of low productivity growth and stagnant incomes. We ought to do what we can to avoid these outcomes, and that may require additional policy measures. At the fed, we will continue to use our tools to their fullest until the crisis has passed and the economic recovery is well underway.”

Across America, states are slowly lifting restrictions to reopen economies — as health officials continue to warn of spikes in COVID-19 cases if federal guidelines for reopening are not followed.

As of Wednesday, May 13, the U.S. has more than 1,380,000 cases of COVID-19 with more than 83,300 deaths.

(Cover photo: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks about the ‘Heroes Act‘, a proposal for the next phase of the coronavirus relief legislation, on Capitol Hill. Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters)
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