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Higgins announces details of proposed Heroes Act COVID relief package


Wed, Sep 30th 2020 01:45 pm

House vote could come as soon as this week on legislation that meets immediate needs of families, communities & businesses struggling due to pandemic

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced details of a newly released pandemic response package from the House of Representatives that provides relief to families, communities and businesses struggling due to the current pandemic. The updated Heroes Act legislation provides $2.2 trillion to address the immediate needs of the ongoing economic and health crisis, including direct relief to Americans and local municipalities.

“Our country continues to face a national emergency and scientists warn us of additional challenges in the months ahead,” Higgins said. “If we don’t act now there will be additional layoffs, more businesses will close, families will continue to struggle to meet life’s most basic needs and schools and municipalities will be crushed under the weight of declining revenues and increasing expenses.”

Relief for Communities

The legislation includes $436 billion in state and local aid to assist local municipalities dealing with community response and to protect jobs. The state of New York would receive an estimated $20.69 billion. In addition, municipalities in Higgins’ district would receive close to $969 million.




Estimated Federal Relief









Erie County


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Niagara County


Niagara Falls


North Tonawanda




Town of Tonawanda


City of Tonawanda


West Seneca









√ $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program

√ $5 billion Emergency Solutions Grant program, which addresses homelessness

√ $182 billion for K-12 schools & $39 billion for colleges

√ $13.5 billion for airports, which will benefit Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the Niagara Falls Airport – not less than 25% of which is for airports to provide assistance to the “restaurants and retailers”

√ $32 billion in Transit Emergency Relief for operating assistance to transit agencies to fully make up funding gaps and support capital improvement projects, which will benefit the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA)

√ $15 billion for the U.S. Postal Service

Relief for Americans

√ A new round of direct economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent

√ $600 in pandemic unemployment payments retroactive from Sept. 5, 2020, through January 2021

√ $57 billion to support child care for families

Includes a bipartisan bill led by Higgins that ensures low-income families impacted by the coronavirus outbreak can use the wages reported in their 2019 tax return to compute the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on their 2020 tax return (The Child Tax Credit is made fully refundable)

√ For 2020, lifts the cap placed on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions that was implemented by the GOP tax bill passed in 2017

√ Supports food security by increasing the maximum benefits allowed under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program by 15%

√ Allows for unemployed Americans who lost employer-provided health insurance to receive the maximum subsidy for Affordable Care Act coverage through the exchanges

Relief for Business

Enhances the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to better help the smallest businesses and nonprofits, and extends the PPP program to the airline industry to protect jobs

The bill establishes a $120 billion grant program for restaurants, food trucks, bars and similar places of business for the difference between the business's 2019 revenues and estimated 2020 revenues per quarter, for payroll and other eligible expenses, based off the RESTAURANTS Act, of which Higgins is a cosponsor

√ Includes a $10 billion grant program through the SBA for live music venues, based on the Save Our Stages Act, which Higgins cosponsored

√ Enhances the new employee retention tax credit

Addressing Urgent Health and Safety Measures

√ $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing with additional focus on racial health disparities

√ $28 billion for distribution of and education around a safe vaccine

√ Requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue workplace standards and infection control plans to protect workers

√ $500 million for nursing home strike teams to address outbreaks

A vote on the legislation could come as soon as this week. It’s unclear what action the Senate would take.

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