Wexton Votes to Provide Critical COVID-19 Emergency Funding for States and Localities
Washington, May 15, 2020
Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to pass the bipartisan Heroes Act to address the continued COVID-19 pandemic with much-needed support for those on the frontlines, funding for our public health response to the crisis, and economic assistance for American families.
"The Heroes Act delivers the urgent response required by this unprecedented public health and financial crisis -- including critical funding for our states and localities that will protect the jobs of teachers, first responders, firefighters, law enforcement, and health care workers,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “We can’t sit idly by while our states risk going bankrupt, small businesses shutter their doors, and millions more Americans are laid off each week. This is a necessary step to get desperately-needed relief to those on the frontlines combatting COVID-19 and to avoid long-term financial ruin by ensuring the economy doesn’t spiral into depression."
The Heroes Act provides Virginia’s government and local communities with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and protects the jobs of our vital workers who keep us safe.
An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide over $12 billion in state funding for the people of Virginia in addition to $1,315,309,347 in urgently needed funding for localities in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. A full breakdown of the estimated funding to all of Virginia-10’s localities can be found here.
"The direct funding for counties and localities provided in the Heroes Act will be critical in assisting Loudoun to recover from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. This bill allows our County and Towns the flexibility to use these funds for lost revenues and other programmatic areas associated with the pandemic. I applaud Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work on this bill,” said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair At-Large, Phyllis J. Randall.
"Our current health and economic crisis require a bold response. The Heroes Act meets the need of the moment. Thank you, Congresswoman Wexton for your support of the Heroes Act and for working tirelessly to ensure direct aid to states and localities was included in the legislation. As a county with 470,000 residents, Prince William fell just shy of the population threshold required for receipt of direct aid in prior federal recovery funding packages. Our community remains hopeful that the next distribution of federal funds will be different,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large, Ann Wheeler.
"As we continue all efforts to keep people safe in Winchester, we face many other challenges. Businesses are struggling, workers are relying on unemployment, families are facing financial hardships, and essential local government services must continue despite a drastic drop in tax revenues. We are encouraged by the passing of the Heroes Act for a much-needed boost to help rebuild our local economy and bring relief to our entire community. On behalf of the City of Winchester, I want to thank Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work and continued support of Virginia’s localities,” said Winchester Mayor John David Smith, Jr.
The Heroes Act also contains many other important provisions including:
Additional Economic Stimulus Payments -- Provides $1,200 payment per taxpayer as well as an increased $1,200 per dependent for a maximum of $6,000 per family, and retroactively expands CARES Act $500 qualifying child payments to all dependents including full-time students and adult dependents.
Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation -- Extends the $600 per week additional federal unemployment benefits through January 31, 2021 to provide relief for the more than 36 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Emergency Rental Assistance -- $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.
Assistance to Homeowners -- $75 billion to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.
Testing, Tracing, and Treatment -- Additional $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation measures, and to ensure that every American can get the treatment they need for free.
A “Heroes’ Fund” for Hazard Pay -- $200 billion to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay.
Preserving Health Benefits for Workers (COBRA) -- Provides approximately nine months of full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their employer sponsored health care coverage if they are eligible for COBRA due to a layoff or reduction in hours, and for workers who have been furloughed but are still active in their employer sponsored plan.
ACA Special Enrollment Period -- Establishes a two-month open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges to allow individuals who are uninsured to obtain coverage.
EIDL Grants for Small Businesses -- Additional $10 billion for grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
PPP Loan Forgiveness -- Extends the covered period for borrowers through the end of the year and amends the program to give small business owners more flexibility in how they can use their PPP funds.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- $10 billion to meet anticipated additional need and cover costs related to flexibilities provided to SNAP by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
U.S. Postal Service -- $25 billion for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to maintain the critical services of the Postal Service in this crisis.
Broadband Access -- $1.5 billion to close the “homework” gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connectivity devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.
Elimination on SALT Deduction Caps -- Eliminates the limits 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.
Teleworking Requirements for Federal Employees and Contractors -- Requires agency leaders to allow and incentivize telework for all eligible federal employees, including contractors, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSF Disinformation Research -- $1 million for a National Academies study on the spread of disinformation related to COVID-19 online and on social media, a provision included by Congresswoman Wexton.
Funding for Education Programs -- $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to COVID-19, to be used for: school-based services for impacted students, families, and staff; sanitation costs; and the purchasing of educational technology.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs -- $100 million, with a waiver of the local match requirement, for programs to combat violence against women and support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.