NEW YORK, NY – Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) announced support for The Heroes Act, House Democrats’ latest legislation to address the continued public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for struggling families and essential workers, with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers, and strengthened assistance for the American people.
“Our communities, workers and families urgently need more relief to weather the coronavirus crisis,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Many of our frontline heroes are even at risk of losing their jobs as they risk their lives to care for us. We must come together to pass the Heroes Act to protect New Yorkers and families in my district and ensure all our frontline heroes have the support they need to continue to save lives and keep our communities safe and healthy.”
The HEROES Act provides New York government and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.
“I have fought for families in our communities who are struggling and many of my legislative priorities are included in the HEROES Act,” continued Rep. Espaillat. “I will continue my fight and believe strongly that we have a responsibility to do what is necessary now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities. With the Heroes Act, we are honoring the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.”
Even before Congress considered the first major round of stimulus payments funded in the CARES Act, Espaillat led dozens of his colleagues calling for language to make sure working, tax-paying undocumented immigrants were not left out. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate insisted on excluding them as well as mixed-status families. The HEROES Act includes language that would finally allow all taxpayers to receive this critical help using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
MTA and other transit agencies get needed help
Espaillat led the New York Delegation in supporting another round of support for the MTA and the nation’s transit agencies. Under the HEROES Act, the MTA would receive $3.8 billion out of a total $15 billion for transit systems around the country. The MTA has continued basic operations to ensure essential workers can get to their jobs during the pandemic, despite a serious decline in revenues through fare and toll collection. They need this help to keep our city moving and Espaillat is pleased his concerns were met.
NYCHA and public housing agencies get funding to combat COVID-19
Espaillat led colleagues in calling for assistance to public housing agencies such as NYCHA so they can protect their residents from COVID-19. The HEROES Act fulfills this request, providing an additional $2 billions to reimburse NYCBA and other housing agencies for actions they take.
Renters would get $100 billion in emergency assistance
Last month, Rep. Espaillat joined Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.) to lead dozens of their colleagues in calling for $100 billion in assistance for renters. The pair also introduced legislation that would provide $25 billion for low- and moderate-income households to pay unpaid back rent. The HEROES Act includes $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, including for back rent and future rent. The bill also includes an eviction moratorium and provides access to credit through the Federal Reserve for landlords so they can stay afloat while providing flexibility to their tenants.
Naturalization ceremonies would go remote so new citizens can be sworn in
As a Co-Chair of the New Americans Caucus in Congress, Espaillat led a letter with caucus members calling for the inclusion of provisions that would require the Department of Homeland Security to carry out naturalization ceremonies virtually
More help directed to minority community businesses and banks
The bill makes important protections to the Paycheck Protection Program called for by Rep. Espaillat that would make it more inclusive for small businesses in minority communities. For example, it sets aside 25% of funds for businesses with fewer than 10 employees, it provides them more flexibility to cover the cost of commercial rent and utilities, it sets aside $10 billion for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) which work with many small business owners in minority communities and provides them with an additional $1 billion in financial and technical assistance.
Other items Espaillat advocated for that got included:
• More than $17.1 billion for New York City to replace lost revenue due to the pandemic, and more than $34 billion for New York State. The bill also removes the harmful cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction, part of the Republican Tax Scam that significantly harmed New York.
• More help for workers and families, including another round of direct payments and increased amounts per child; expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit; $10 billion for SNAP (food stamps) and more than $4 billion for other nutrition programs; an extension of the additional unemployment benefits included in the CARES Act; and a new fund to help pay utility bills.
• A $200 billion fund for employers to give essential workers an additional $13-per-hour in hazard pay.
• Espaillat led an effort with Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) calling for the SNAP (food stamps) program to allow beneficiaries to purchase hot food from retailers during the pandemic. While the Trump Administration has not yet allowed this, the HEROES Act would provide for it.
• Billions in additional funds for health care providers, hospitals, community health centers, and protective equipment.
• Another $10 billion for emergency grants to small businesses so all applicants can receive the full $10,000 that they are supposed to receive but that the Trump Administration has unilaterally decided to reduce. The inclusion of grants was one of Espaillat’s signature contributions to the CARES Act.
• An extension to allow the Census Bureau more time to count and provide new data. Espaillat was the first to call for an extension to the 2020 Census to allow for an accurate enumeration given the challenge COVID-19 poses to in-person counting.
• $25 billion to keep the U.S. Postal Service operating its essential services, particularly important as we push for expanded voting by mail.
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First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee. He serves as a Senior Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he also serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.