Congressman Cohen Will Vote for Coronavirus Response Measure
MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) will return to Washington Thursday and plans to vote Friday on a fifth bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, includes some of the Congressman’s proposed improvements to previous coronavirus measures, including the repeal of a tax break for millionaire and billionaire real estate developers and hedge fund managers; a federal requirement for masks on airplanes; Medicaid disproportionate share payments of $54.4 million for our Tennessee hospitals not compensated for treating patients; and a substantial increase of $50 million for the Legal Services Corporation for dealing with the legal needs of those affected by this crisis. This will be Congressman Cohen’s third return to Washington since the crisis and lockdown conditions began in March.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
“As this pandemic rages, unprecedented responses need to be made to save the lives and livelihoods of American families. I will return to Washington and abide by social distancing restrictions to vote to advance these critical provisions.”
Major Provisions of The Heroes Act:
- 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 ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
- Provides strong support for our heroes with nearly $1 trillion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments on the frontlines who desperately need funds to pay the health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. This includes $322.8 million for Memphis and $351.3 million for Shelby County this year. The Heroes Act will also establish a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay.
- Provides mandate that passengers and crews of airlines wear protective masks, something Congressman Cohen championed earlier this month with the Federal Aviation Administration, the CDC and the airlines.
- Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families with up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and an extension of the weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
- Supports small businesses 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.
- Ensures further support for Americans, including
- Health security – federal coverage of COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance
- Workplace security – requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who report problems.
- Housing security – $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners struggling to afford rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs.
- Food security – a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.
- Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.
Congressman Cohen previously voted for the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Act on March 4; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 14; the CARES Act on March 27; and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act on April 23.