McGovern Leads Rule Debate on Heroes Act, Releases Details on Benefits for Massachusetts Communities

“We haven’t seen numbers like this since the Great Depression. This situation demands a whole-of-government response that matches the challenges we face.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the House Floor this morning, Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) opened the rule debate on H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, House Democrats’ latest legislation to address the ongoing public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for struggling families and essential workers, with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers, and strengthened assistance for the American people.

*Video of his Remarks Available Here*

The Heroes Act includes many of the anti-hunger provisions McGovern has championed in Congress over the last several months, including a 15% increase in maximum benefits for people receiving assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an increase in the minimum monthly SNAP benefit from $16 to $30, and a provision preventing the Trump Administration from implementing rules that weaken benefits and access to food.

The Heroes Act also incorporates major provisions of a bill inspired by Chef José Andrés that McGovern introduced last week alongside Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) which would help state and local leaders purchase food from farms, and then pay local restaurants to cook it for vulnerable populations during the pandemic.

Key Provisions of the Heroes Act:

  • Provides an estimated $14.2 billion to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and individual municipalities this year to help first responders, frontline health workers, transit employees, teachers, and other workers providing vital services. Funds can be used for COVID-related expenses, to replace foregone revenues not projected on January 31, 2020, or to respond to negative economic impacts of COVID.
  • Provides an estimated $1.59 billion to support state and local public education in Massachusetts. This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support forelementary, secondary and public higher education and can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.
  • Provides $75 million in election assistance grants to Massachusetts to assist in safely and fairly carrying out the 2020 elections.
  • Puts money in the pockets of Massachusetts workers with a second round of direct payments to families of up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
  • Supports small businesses in Massachusetts by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types, and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.