HEROES Act Would Give America’s Working Families the Paid Leave and Other Essential Supports We All Need in This Pandemic
“The HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act is vitally important legislation that would provide the help the country needs right now when it comes to access to paid leave/sick days, health care, nutrition assistance, and aid to state and local governments. We urge Congress to pass it immediately, as we also recognize that more must be done to fully address the needs of families, businesses, and our economy.
“There is tremendous pain across the country right now. At MomsRising, we hear it from our members every day. That is why moms across the country are demanding quick action to make this bill law. The notion that the U.S. Senate, under Senator McConnell’s leadership, should slow-walk additional relief legislation is astonishingly tone-deaf to what the country is expecting and families are experiencing. That is evident in food bank lines, people unable to pay their rent or mortgages, and calls to mental health hotlines.
“The HEROES Act will help tremendously, including by extending paid leave/sick days, but it falls short with regard to creating more pathways and funding to reduce incarceration, which is critical to public health; and with regard to the emerging crisis in child care, which has become a national emergency with centers closing every day and many not expected to reopen. Congress must also take immediate action to increase funding for our child care infrastructure and stave off the collapse of our child care system, which would cripple economic recovery because families with young children will be unable to return to the workforce.
“There’s no time to waste. Congress should act quickly to pass the HEROES Act and President Trump should then quickly sign it into law. We are struggling through the greatest health and economic challenge the country has faced in a century.
“The pandemic has laid bare cracks in our public policies – cracks that have become catastrophes for millions. Families have been paying a terrible price because lawmakers ignored our need for paid leave and paid sick days for all for so long. That is why we are so pleased that the HEROES Act recognizes that the time is over for small, stingy steps that leave tens of millions without paid sick days and paid leave. This bill will provide the paid sick days and paid leave that every working person in this country needs during the coronavirus pandemic. We also are pleased that the HEROES Act:
- Increases the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit by 15 percent and increases funds for school meals and other nutrition programs that are in unprecedented demand;
- Extends unemployment and provides a second round of direct payments to families, including immigrant families;
- Prevents people from losing their employer-sponsored health insurance, creates a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, mandates reports to Congress on the race and ethnicity of COVID-19 testing, hospitalization and mortality, prohibits price gouging on consumer goods and services needed for medical treatment, and provides essential funding for mental health supports, aid to Native American communities, and other urgent health issues like testing, tracing, and treatment;
- Enhances worker safety, as well as expands and strengthens the paid leave and paid sick days laws passed in the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act;
- Protects and extends relief to all families and essential workers, including green card holders, Dreamers, TPS-holders, and those in undocumented communities;
- Expands the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and the Child Tax Credit to support struggling families and repeals the appalling $135 billion Millionaires Tax Giveaway that the GOP snuck into the CARES Act;
- Supports state, local, territorial and tribal governments; and
- Provides resources to secure our elections, protect the Census, and preserve the U.S. Post Office.
“We applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all the U.S. House leaders who wrote and are championing this bill. The HEROES Act must not become part of Mitch McConnell’s shameful legislative graveyard. America needs it to become law now.”
--Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO, MomsRising
“The paid leave and paid sick days provisions in the HEROES Act will allow working families to recover from COVID-19 and other illnesses, and care for family members stricken by illness, without sacrificing their financial security and risking a fall into poverty. These improvements to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act are critically necessary -- we know states cannot safely reopen without these protections in place.
“We are especially pleased that the bill eliminates exemptions in earlier COVID relief bills that left more than 100 million workers without paid leave by covering both large and small employers and by ending the exclusion for health care providers and emergency responders. It also expands the uses of paid sick days and paid leave in vitally important ways, expands working people’s ability to use paid sick days and paid leave, increases the wage replacement workers can access while on leave, expands access to public and nonprofit employees, and provides urgently needed fiscal aid to state and local governments.
“All this is badly needed and long overdue. We applaud the champions of working families and leaders in the U.S. House for including these important provisions in this new legislation. MomsRising’s more than a million members are demanding that both chambers of Congress waste no time in passing this bill. We need paid leave and paid sick days now and we will need them when this pandemic ends.”
--Statement of Ruth Martin, senior vice president and chief workplace justice officer, MomsRising