House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed her $3 trillion phase-four coronavirus bill in the House. All it contains is a “policy wishlist” for Democrats and progressives. The Heroes Act is a 1,815-page bill that the House passed but will never pass as written in the Senate. While House and Senate leaders continue their bickering over what to keep, what to throw out, and what they can sell to the American people, several million unemployed Americans lost that $600 weekly stipend they received in the previous bill. And those Americans are hurting.
“We have passed our bill, the appropriate thing for the Senate to do is to pass a bill, and then we can negotiate with them, but they can’t even get a bill passed on their side, even if it just took 51 votes, they’re in disarray,” Pelosi said.
But what Pelosi and House Democrats did was launch into the new Pelosi “Take our bill and pass it as-is or NOTHING” legislative process. After all, Pelosi knows what’s best for the American people!
The legislation was not negotiated with congressional Republicans or the Trump administration. If it ever is taken up in the Senate, it will likely languish and die. Though Pelosi has met several times with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, nothing meaningful has been accomplished. What Pelosi and Company are demanding is just too big a pill to swallow. Politico reported even before the House bill passed that it serves as more of a wishlist for the House Democrat conference’s most progressive lawmakers than a piece of meaningful legislation to help Middle-Class Americans weather the COVID-19 pandemic’s slaughter of the nation’s economy.
Privately, several House Democrats concede the Heroes Act they passed feels like little more than an effort to appease the most liberal members of the caucus. Many of them were chafed that their most important priorities were minimized or ignored entirely in previous coronavirus negotiations.
The Heroes Act contains mostly leftist provisions, 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.”
Pelosi’s Heroes Act represents a staggering amount of spending.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) noted that the bill has “70 appropriations over a billion dollars each.”
Norman asked rhetorically, “When you walk out of secret negotiations with an 1800 page, $3 trillion bill that has no chance of becoming law, why is that portrayed as an accomplishment?”
As of 5:30 PM, Monday talks stalled once again. The Senate put together a bill they’re calling the “HEALS Bill.” House and Senate leaders met on Monday once more with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to try and reconcile differences between the HEROES Act and the HEALS Bill. It seems to Americans it would be prudent to find consensus and get something put in place quickly.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful in all of this screaming at each other in closed meetings if negotiations would be publicized — at least in part — so that 330 million Americans would have some firsthand knowledge of where these serious and important negotiations stand? Better yet, wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone would put all of what is in both bills in the public’s hands so WE could peruse what both parties are demanding? Is that too much to expect? After all, they each work for us!
As usual, TruthNewsNetwork has done the deep dive for our partners. The HEALS Bill has not been put forward in legal format to the Senate. It is still in “production.” But here’s what we are doing today: the following link is a .pdf of the House-approved HEROES Act. Feel free to read or download to examine yourself. Please know, however, it is more than 1,800 pages long! And it’s full of pork that in no way has anything at all to do with COVID-19. There are billions of dollars of unnecessary spending that each is little more than Democrat payback to whomever they need to payback.
Somehow that’s not surprising.
Below the link to the HEROES Act file to download, please see a bullet point summary of where negotiations ended Monday afternoon. Please know these are just summary points:
Now, as promised, here are the fundamental differences between the two as of Monday:
Bullet Point Differences between HEROES Act and HEALS Act
- Total Cost of each: HEROES — $3 trillion; HEALS — $1 trillion
- Stimulus payment to Americans: HEROES — identical to that in the previous CARES Act
- Additional stimulus payment to dependents: HEROES — $1200 for dependents, maximum of three; HEALS — $500 for dependents, no age limit
- enhanced unemployment: HEROES — $600 per week; HEROES — $200/week, then up to $500/week to match 70% of lost wages when added to state benefits
- unemployment benefits paid: HEROES — January 2021 for most; HEALS — $100/week through Sept. Then 70% matching of lost wages until 12/31/2020
- Paycheck Protection Program: HEROES — Expands eligibility, eliminates 75% payroll requirement, and extends application period to 12/31/2020; HEALS — Injects another $190 billion into the PPP fund, expands eligibility and allows businesses to request a second loan. Eliminates 75% payroll requirement and expands approved uses of funds for loan forgiveness
- Employee tax credit: HEROES — Increases tax credit to 80% of up to $15,000 in wages; HEALS — Increases tax credit to 65% of up to $30,000
- Bonus for employees who start new jobs or are rehired: HEROES — not included; HEALS — There could be a return-to-work bonus of up to $450 per week for unemployed workers who secure a new job or are rehired
- Eviction protections and a moratorium: HEROES — Expands to cover nearly all rental properties in the US, extends eviction moratorium an additional 12 months, allocates $200 billion for housing programs and another $100 billion for rental assistance; HEALS — not included
- School reopening: HEROES — $58 billion for grades K-12, $42 billion for higher education; HEALS — $70 billion to K-12 that open for in-person classes, $29 billion for higher education, $1 billion to Bureau of Indian Education, $5 billion state discretion
- Liability protection from coronavirus illness: HEROES — not mentioned; HEALS — 5-year liability shield to prevent schools, businesses, hospitals, from being sued over coronavirus-related issues
- Coronavirus testing: HEROES — not included; HEALS — $16 billion
There’s only ONE thing we know is certain: what you see above, which is exactly where Leadership found themselves Monday afternoon will most certainly NOT be where this will end. It’s nothing more than typical partisan poker where all the players watch and listen intently to see which blinks first.
Am I the only American who is nauseated at the games these politicians play at every level, and with every part of our lives and seem to care little what THEIR diddling costs our nation? My temptation is to delve on that. But then I recall that this IS politics. Congress constitutionally is supposed to craft and implement legislation for their bosses: the American people. They are certainly NOT authorized to play any game in which the fate of 330 million Americans lies on who blinks first.
If you decide to go to a dictionary to find a definition of “Congressional Negotiations,” there you’ll undoubtedly see as part of the definition in Webster’s the word “Insanity.”