Underwood Supports Passage of Heroes Act to Help Illinois Families and Communities Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 15, 2020
Press Release
Legislation contains Underwood priorities for testing, tracing, and treatment; protections for essential workers; additional relief payments for individuals and small businesses; funding to support local services like schools and first responders; support for the U.S. Postal Service; and tax relief for families impacted by the SALT cap

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) announced that she will vote in support of the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), the latest coronavirus relief package in the House of Representatives. The legislation builds upon previously passed measures to address the public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for families and essential workers, with resources for coronavirus testing and tracing, key support for frontline workers, and strengthened financial assistance for individuals and small businesses.  

The Heroes Act includes many 14th District priorities that Underwood has championed, including investments in testing, tracing, and treatment; protections for essential workers; additional relief payments for individuals and small businesses; direct local funding to support services like schools and first responders; support for the U.S. Postal Service; and tax relief for families impacted by the State and Local Tax (SALT) cap. 

“Northern Illinois families, workers, and communities urgently need more relief to weather the coronavirus crisis. Each day, I hear from essential workers putting their lives at risk, families struggling to make ends meet, students facing new challenges of online learning, and small businesses unsure if they will be able to reopen, ” said Underwood. “The HEROES Act will help Illinois families and ensure our essential workers—true  heroes in this pandemic—have the support they need to continue to save lives and keep our communities safe.”  

Underwood’s remarks on the Heroes Act can be found here.

The Heroes Act provides urgently needed, direct funding to help communities cover coronavirus-related expenses and revenue losses so health care workers, police, EMS, teachers, and other essential roles are able to continue to keep Illinois communities safe. Additionally, the legislation will help state and local governments meet a wide range of urgent needs to support elementary, secondary, and public high education institutions. This includes 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. 

The Heroes Act provides $500 billion to states and another $375 billion to local governments, including municipalities with populations under 50,000. The funding includes flexibility to account for expenses and lost revenue related to coronavirus. Underwood has continuously advocated for additional direct relief funding to small cities and localities across Illinois’ 14th District. 

In addition to resources for Illinois communities, the Heroes Act provides support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy. 

  • Commits an additional $75 billion for the testing, tracing, and treatment we need to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and help ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.  
  • Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ Fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive premium pay.   
  • Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families (including dependents previously excluded from direct payments), 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 by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, local farm bureaus, and chambers of commerce, and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 
  • Ensures further support for Illinoisans and all Americans, including for: 
  • Tax Relief— Eliminates the limitation on the deduction for SALT for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2021.  
  • Health security – provides COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance. 
  • Workplace security – requires OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems. 
  • Housing security provides a $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs. 
  • Food security – provides a15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.   
  • Protects our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.