Rep. Cox votes for latest legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis; Senate unlikely to pass bill

By The Leader Staff
Rep. TJ Cox
Rep. TJ Cox

Rep. TJ Cox, and his House colleagues, voted on and passed the Heroes Act this week, the House’s latest bill to address the unprecedented COVID-19 health and economic crisis. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act passed by a 208-199 vote.

“The COVID-19 crisis has taken an unprecedented toll on our communities. We all know someone whose job or business has been affected, and many in the Central Valley are out of work. We are currently facing the worst health and economic disaster of our lifetimeThe CARES Act was a great step in helping the American people get through this crisis, but we know more needs to be done.” said Cox.

“The Heroes Act is the next step in this process and a lifeline for millions of working families who need a hand up to get through this crisis. There are dozens of provisions in this bill that are key to helping the Central Valley weather this pandemic.”  

Unfortunately for Cox and his Democratic colleagues, the sweeping $3 trillion legislation was quickly dismissed by Republicans, and the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and probably isn’t going anywhere.

But Cox said that the current pandemic shows the need for legislation that meets the crisis Americans are facing. That is why the House voted to pass the Heroes Act to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy. To help Americans, the Act: 

  • Supports small businesses by strengthening the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) , 
  • Gives a second round of direct payments of up to $1200 for individuals or $6000 per household, 
  • Extends $600 federal unemployment benefits through next January, 
  • Prohibits the shutoff of utilities during the crisis, 
  • Protects farmworkers by providing pandemic premium pay for frontline workers,
  • Commits another $75 billion for testing, tracing, and treatment for COVID-19, including specific funding for testing how COVID-19 affects farmers and farmworkers,  
  • Provides $100 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant, 
  • Provides $500 million to reimburse dairies for contributions to the Emergency Dairy Donation Program, as well as another half a billion for the Dairy Recourse Loan Program,
  • Provides special funding for municipalities under 50,000 residents, which is most of the Central Valley, 
  • Strengthens food security by increasing the maximum SNAP benefits by 15% and providing $10 billion to support anticipated increases in participation in SNAP,  
  • Provides $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to pay vital workers
  • Creates a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay, and 
  • Protects our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.  
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