Costa Statement on Passage of the Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

 

[WASHINGTON] – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) voted to pass the Heroes Act,  the latest relief package from the House of Representatives to address the COVID-19 health crisis and provide support for the American people.

Our families, businesses and communities need help to overcome this health crisis crippling our nation,” Costa said. “The Heroes Act takes bold, necessary action to help secure our food supply, and support our healthcare system. This would create a funding source for the development of a medical school in our under-served area and in similar regions throughout the country. It also puts more money in the hands of Americans struggling to get by each day.”

The  Heroes Act provides state and local government with funding to pay frontline workers who provide essential, life-saving services to residents. The legislation will provide over $47.4 billion in funding for the people of California. The San Joaquin Valley will receive $1.5 billion. Here is the breakdown for the Fresno, Madera and Merced region over two years:

  • Fresno County - $561,870,152
  • Fresno City - $510,228,117
  • Merced County – $156,160,492
  • Madera County - $88,476,886
  • Merced City - $80,634,624
  • Madera City - $65,402,972
  • Los Banos - $19,784,513
  • Atwater - $14,553,767
  • Chowchilla - $9,267,233
  • Livingston - $7,122,602
  • Gustine - $2,890,611
  • Dos Palos - $2,725,221

The Heroes Act also provides critical support to  the American people. Congressman Costa worked to successfully secure important priorities for the Valley:

  • Food security:
    • $16.5 billion in direct payments to specialty crop, dairy, and livestock producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • $100 million to support the supply chain for specialty crops, including fruit, vegetables and nuts.
    • Temporary protected status and work authorization for undocumented farmworkers and other essential workers in the food supply chain.
    • Hazard pay for essential workers at $13 per hour above base wage.
    • Worker protections, including more access to paid family leave, sick leave, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for essential food workers.
    • $1 billion in emergency assistance to processing facilities that shut down because of coronavirus outbreaks.
    • $25 million to expand Farm to Food Bank Programs.
    • Additional $10 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
    • $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers emergency support services, including
    • More flexibility to ensure quick delivery of food to seniors.
    • $50 million in additional funding to support local farmers, farmers markets, and other local food outlets.
    • $3 billion in additional funding to provide emergency financial relief to school meal providers.
    • $50 million to support outreach and assistance for underserved and beginning farmers.
  • Healthcare and frontline workers:
    • $1 billion dollars in funding for medical school construction, expansion, and training in underserved areas.
    • $2 billion to expand the Rural Health Care Program and bolster telehealth capacity.
    • Access to Workers’ Compensation coverage for federal employees with duties requiring substantial contact with the public that contract COVID-19.
    • $7.6 billion to support expanded health care services for underserved populations.
    • $4.745 billion to expand COVID-19-related research on the NIH campus and at academic institutions across the country.
    • $175 billion to reimburse for health care related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.
    • $3 billion to increase mental health support during this challenging time, to support substance abuse treatment, and to offer increased outreach.
    • Protection of Americans at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance by fully subsidizing the cost of their COBRA coverage.
    • Creation of a special enrollment period for the uninsured for the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.
    • $150 million for states to establish and deploy strike teams to help nursing homes.
    • Creation of a Global Health Security coordinator and associated council to help prevent future pandemics.
  • Social services:
    • $10. Billion to provide supportive services for families and children, including protection against child abuse and family violence.
    • $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.
    • $100 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, including $30 million for grants to combat violence against women and $15 million for transitional housing assistance grants.
  • Veterans:
    • Coverage of copays or cost-sharing for preventative treatment or services related to COVID-19 for veterans and streamlining VA’s payment process for emergency care claims to community providers.
    • Access to hazard pay and paid sick leave for VA’s doctors, nurses and health care professionals if exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation if they fall ill.
    • Increased VA Aid and Attendance Funding by 25% to ensure that the most vulnerable veterans receive seamless in-home care and assistance with daily activities as well as providing reimbursements for PPE supplies for their aides.
    • Temporary suspension of VA’s debt collection activities and extension of the deadlines to file claims and appeals for VA benefits, including disability compensation, during the public health emergency.
    • Expanded emergency assistance for homeless veterans – including transportation, food, shelter, clothing, blankets, and toiletries and more efficient HUD-VASH vouchers by processing applications online and waiving in-person inspection requirements.
    • Expanded eligibility for National Guard and Reserve Members deployed in support of the COVID-19 to access mental health services at VA’s Vet Centers and alleviation of unfair financial penalties for servicemembers and families of the fallen impacted by “stop movement” orders.
  • Families:
    • Another $1,200 Individual Payment (limit $6,000 per household), with expanded eligibility for those who have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and dependents over the age of 17.
    • $7 billion for childcare providers to serve individuals who are required to work during the public health emergency or to stay afloat during temporary closures.
    • Establishment of a $100 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program that would allocate funds to states, territories, counties, and cities to help renters pay their rent and utility bills and to help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.
    • Creation of a $75 billion Homeowner Assistance Fund that would allocate funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.
    • Extension of $600 unemployment payments.
    • Fully refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) and maximum amount increase to $3,000.
    • Elimination of the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions cap.
    • Expansions in the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to reduce barriers to participation.
    • Emergency funding to ensure low-income families have access to drinking and wastewater services.
    • Extension of the refundable payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave and significant improvements to employee retention credit.
    • $25 billion for U.S. Post Office revenue forgone due to the coronavirus pandemic and additional protections for postal workers.
    • Stronger safety requirements for transportation workers in rail, highway, transit, and aviation industries.
    • Creation of a pool of $4 billion to provide up to $50-a-month subsidies to low-income families or laid-off and furloughed workers in order to help pay their internet service bills throughout the end of the pandemic.
    • Ensures no one will face a water, energy, phone or internet shut-off during the public health emergency.
    • Utility payment assistance for the recently unemployed, low-income families, seniors, and veterans.
    • Ban on price gouging during the public health emergency.
  • For our students and schools:
    • $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including communities in California.
    • $5 billion for the E-rate Program for schools and libraries to provide internet service to students and teachers, prioritizing those without internet access at home.
    • $1.5 billion to close the homework gap through funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.
  • For supporting small business:
    • $10 billion in funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant program.
    • Expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to include nonprofits of all sizes.
    • Increased flexibility for PPP loans, including:
      • Extension of loan forgiveness from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
      • Elimination of 75/25 rule on use of loan proceeds.

###