House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has unveiled the “Heroes Act” a 1,815 page, $3 trillion dollar coronavirus bill.
Breitbart reports the legislation was not negotiated with congressional Republicans or the Donald Trump administration, and even if it passes through the House, it will likely languish in the Senate.
Politico reported in May that the legislation serves as more of a wishlist for the House Democrat conference’s most progressive lawmakers.
Privately, several House Democrats concede their latest bill feels like little more than an effort to appease the most liberal members of the caucus, many of whom were chafed that their most important priorities were minimized or ignored entirely in previous coronavirus negotiations.
The Heroes Act reportedly contains many leftist provisions in the bill, including:
- $755 million for the government for Washington, DC. The bill would also allow the D.C. government to participate in the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity (MLF) to support additional lending to the city.
- $1 million for the National Science Foundation to study the spread of coronavirus-related “disinformation.”
- $10 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as well as $10 million fo the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Eliminates limitations on the federal deduction for the state and local taxes (SALT). Republicans limited this deduction through the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The SALT deduction primarily benefits wealthy, largely Democrat states.
- Grants additional aid for State and local government bailouts. The bill contains $500 billion in funding for state government relief and $375 billion in aid to local governments. Senate Republicans such as Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have contended this will particularly aid fiscally irresponsible blue states such as California, New York, and Illinois to the detriment of more fiscally responsible states such as Texas and Florida.
- $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency support services through the Department of Labor.
- $1.7 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions, $20 million for Howard University, $11 million for Gallaudet University, $11 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
- $15 million to maintain operations, rental assistance supportive services, and other actions to mitigate the impact on low-income people with HIV/AIDS through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Create a two month special enrollment period for Obamacare. The bill also extends full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their health insurance coverage through COBRA.
- Allows Attorney General William Barr to make grants to states to create state-run hate crime reporting hotlines.
- Relief for up to $10,000 of up-front debt relief for all Department of Education loan borrowers.
- Authorizes up to $50 million in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “environmental justice” grants to investigate or address the disproportionate impact of coronavirus in environmental communities.
- $75 billion for housing assistance.
- Mandatory early voting for every state and mandatory mail-in ballots for every state. Nate Madden, a press secretary for the House Oversight Committee Republicans, said it would be a “nightmare scenario for voter fraud.”
- Allows wealthy people who make money from dividends and royalties to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed for lower-income Americans.
- Extends assistance designed for nonprofits to political action groups and chamber of commerce-style associations. Open Markets Institute fellow Matt Stoller called it a “corporate lobbyist bailout.”Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) noted that the bill has “70 appropriations in excess of a billion dollars each.”