Peterson Statement on Passage of the HEROES Act
May 18, 2020
Washington DC – Representative Collin Peterson released the following statement after the House today approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act on a vote of 208-199. Peterson voted in favor of the legislation.
“The Coronavirus has shuttered businesses, upended the agriculture supply chain, and disrupted the lives of families throughout our country. I supported the Heroes Act because it provides much-needed support that I secured for agriculture producers and it will fund critical services for local government.
As I have said for weeks, without a strong testing and tracing program to stop the spread of the virus, we will continue to face setbacks in our efforts to reopen our country until a vaccine is widely available. This bill will provide resources to improve our testing and tracing capabilities.
While I do have serious concerns with some of the provisions that will never survive negotiations with the Senate, it was important to advance many of the positive aspects included in the bill to address this crisis.”
The Heroes Act includes numerous provisions to help address the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis
• Fighting the Spread of the Coronavirus– $75 billion for testing, contact tracing, and other activities necessary to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19.
o Makes a number of improvements to the Strategic National Stockpile
• Strengthens Support for Businesses –
o Increases the applicable percentage of qualified wages reimbursed through the employee retention credit from 50% to 80%.
o Amendments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
Extension of the covered period from June 30 to December 31;
Extends eligibility to all nonprofits of all sizes and clarifies the eligibility of housing cooperatives;
Establishes a minimum maturity on PPP loans of 5 years to enable borrowers to amortize loans over a longer period of time, which lowers monthly payments;
Clarifies that PPP loans cannot be calculated on a compound basis, saving borrowers money over the long-term;
Modifications to PPP Funds, including
A carve out of 25% of the existing funds on the date of enactment to be used specifically for small businesses with 10 or fewer employees to guarantee they are fully able to access PPP assistance;
A carve out of 25% of the existing funds on the date of enactment solely for the use of all nonprofits, no matter their size or type but requiring that at least half this amount go to small nonprofits under the 500-employee threshold;
Establishes an additional set aside of existing funds of the lesser of 25% or $10 billion specifically for community financial institutions, such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Development Institutions (MDIs), SBA microlenders, and SBA Certified Development Companies (CDCs); and
Mandates that any returned amounts due to the cancellation of a covered loan shall be redistributed through loans to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
Establishes technical assistance grants for small community financial institutions and small depository institutions and credits with assets of less than $10 billion; and
o Amendments to PPP Loan Forgiveness:
Adds flexibility in the covered period for borrowers by extending the 8-week period to 24 weeks and extends the covered period from June 30 to December 31;
Harmonizes the use of proceeds with forgiveness;
Mandates forgiveness data collection and reporting;
Creates a safe harbor for borrowers who cannot rehire in the prescribed timeframe;
Eliminates the 75/25 rule on use of loan proceeds; and
Clarifies the hold harmless provision for lenders.
o Improved Coordination Between PPP and Employee Retention Tax Credit. Clarifies the coordination between the Employee Retention Tax Credit and the PPP loans to ensure borrowers can take advantage of both types of assistance.
o Taxability of Subsidy for Certain Loan Payments. Ensures the principal and interest loan assistance is not treated as taxable income to small business borrowers.
o EIDL- Expand Economic Injury Disaster Program Heroes Act would provide more assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Program by appropriating an additional $10 billion for Emergency EIDL Grants to remain available until expended.
• Keeping Hospitals and Healthcare Providers from Closing -
o Provides $7.6 billion for Community Health Centers to expand the capacity to provide testing, triage, and care for COVID-19; $100 billion for hospitals to reimburse for healthcare expenses and lost revenue; and $3 billion for expanded mental health and substance abuse programs.
o Provides $150 million for States to create dedicated teams that can quickly deployed to skilled nursing facilities or nursing facilities to protect residents from COVID-19 outbreak, and ensures residents can conduct “televisitation” with loved ones while COVID-19 prevents in-person visits.
• Prevents Local Governments from Devastating Losses –
o $500b in funding to assist state governments with the fiscal impacts from the public health emergency.
o $375b in funding to assist local governments with the fiscal impacts.
o $20b in funding to assist Tribal Governments. $20b for U.S. territories.
o The bill includes robust funding for police ($300 million for the Byrne JAG grants and COPS hiring grants.
• Families and Seniors
o Provides for another round of stimulus checks, $1200 per person, including children (up from $500 for children)
o $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 and provide families with tuition relief.
o Expands the Child Care Tax Credit, making it fully refundable for 2020 and increases the amount to $3,000 per child, and $3,600 for a child under age 6.
o Expanded voting access by early voting and mail in voting during the crisis.
o Increased mental health resources including a 3 Code for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
o Provides $309 million in supplemental funding for USDA’s rental assistance programs, including $25 million for rural vouchers, to absorb reductions in tenant rent contributions and to provide rental assistance to unassisted households living in USDA subsidized properties who are struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
o Support for seniors’ home-delivered meals - $100 million to provide direct services such as home-delivered and prepackaged meals, and supportive services for seniors and disabled individuals, and their caregivers.
• Emergency Relief for Farmers and Livestock Producers –
o Provides emergency assistance to producers who have depopulated livestock and poultry due to processing shut-downs and back-ups resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
o Establishes supplemental margin coverage for dairies based on the difference between 2019 actual production and Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) production history
o Provides a premium discount for operations that commit to participating in Dairy Margin Coverage for 2021 – 2023
o Provides direct support for renewable fuel plants affected by COVID-19
o Provides $16.5 billion for direct payments to agricultural producers whose commodities were impacted by COVID-19 related market disruptions
o Expands the Emergency Soil Health Incentive Pilot Program to allow producers to enroll land in a 3-year contract with an option to receive an up-front payment
o Provides $300 million to support improved animal health surveillance and laboratory capacity
• Supports Veterans -
o Increases by 25% the amount being paid to disabled veterans to assist with daily activities including purchase of PPE for veterans and their caregivers or home health aides.
o Establishes zero cost-sharing (out-of-pocket costs) for COVID-19 treatment under VA health plans,
o Flexibility for the VA to care for homeless veterans during COVID-19, such as providing transportation, purchasing food, shelter, telecommunication equipment, clothing, blankets, and toiletry items for homeless veterans.
o Extends deadlines for veterans to file claims and appeals for VA benefits.
o Allows National Guard and Reserve members to receive mental health care at Vet Centers if deployed for more than 14 days in support of COVID-19.
o Suspends VA debt collection activities during COVID-19
• Support for VA providers:
o Heroes Pay - VA health care providers and first responders would be eligible to receive premium pay for treating COVID-19 patients.
o VA doctors and nurses are eligible to receive paid sick leave.
• Education- the bill invests more than $100 billion in funding for childcare providers, school districts, and institutions of higher education, which are facing a surge of unexpected costs and need financial assistance just to keep the doors open.
o $90 Billion to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to States to support elementary and secondary schools and public postsecondary institutions.
o Nearly $58 billion for K-12 schools to continue delivering instruction, including purchasing educational technology and hotspot devices, planning and implementing summer learning, training and professional development, and maintaining school personnel employment.
o Nearly $27 billion to support public institutions of higher education and their students.
o Nearly $4 billion to governors to award funding to school districts and institutions of higher education.
• Expanding Broadband Access- Provides a much needed investment in expanding our broadband network to help our student and economy while many work and study from home.
o $1.5 billion to close the homework gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.
o The bill authorizes $2 billion for a temporary expansion of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program (RHCP) to partially subsidize their health care providers’ broadband service and increases the broadband subsidy rate from 65 percent to 85 percent.