The HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) is a proposal that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15.
The bill is now in the hands of the Republican-dominated Senate, who has voiced skepticism about the details of the package. Given that the HEROES Act has been called an “unserious product form an unserious majority” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to debt.org, it will likely not pass in its current form.
As it stands, the HEROES Act is a $3 trillion plan to alleviate economic distress caused by the coronavirus. The relief bill promises a second stimulus check, debt relief, $200 billion for hazard pay (with a $13/hour pay raise until workers receive a total of $10,000 if their regular pay is less than $200,000/year), an additional six months of COVID-19 unemployment, housing and food assistance, and nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments, according to debt.org.
In addition, the HEROES Act amends the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses by eliminating the 75% requirement set into effect under the current plan.
And when it comes to student loan forgiveness, the HEROES Act hopes to extend the suspended interest and payment for people with student loans through September 30, 2021.
Will There Be a Second Stimulus Check?
The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not a second stimulus check will be included in the bill.
At this point, the consensus is that the act will likely contain another round of stimulus checks for qualifying Americans, but they may decide to implement a $40,000 income cap in order to target those hit hardest by the pandemic.
An income cap would mean reducing the number of Americans eligible to receive a stimulus check.
If the Senate and the House can agree on a fourth stimulus package, then eligible Americans can expect to see stimulus checks as early as August.
The Senate returned from recess on Monday, July 20, and they have just over two weeks to draft and create another stimulus package before the last day of their session on August 7.
What If They Cannot Come to an Agreement?
If the Senate and House cannot come to an agreement on the details of a fourth stimulus package by August 7, then they will not reconvene until early September, according to Forbes.
As the outlet pointed out, many unemployment benefits are set to expire on July 31, meaning there is pressure for an agreement to be reached by the end of the month.
Last week, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell stated, “We go back in session next week and in the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be laying out in the Senate another package. We are looking at another direct payment.”
McConnell, however, added that the Senate will not work beyond August 7.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that she is prepared to cancel the House’s August recess in order to pass a stimulus bill.