Coronavirus Heroes Act

Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is an original cosponsor of the Heroes Act, the House Democratic plan to improve public health and support the American people through the coronavirus pandemic.

This bold piece of legislation includes crucial support for communities, the economy and tribes. The Heroes Act:

  • Establishes the Heroes’ Fund for Essential Workers: Establishes a $200 billion Heroes’ Fund to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay.
  • Guarantees Funding to Assist Tribal Governments: This bill guarantees funding to assist Tribal governments with the impacts of the public health emergency. The bill includes:
    • $20 billion to assist federally recognized Tribal governments with the fiscal impacts of the pandemic;
    • $3 billion to address health care and Tribal government needs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
  • Ensures Parity for Tribal Nations: The bill ensures parity for Tribal nations by dedicating resources in critical programs such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding, education stabilization, transportation programs, drinking water and energy utility assistance, broadband connectivity programs, and more.
  • Supports our Insular Areas by providing $20 billion in funding for Territorial governments, and application of Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in the territories.
  • Includes environmental justice provisions and offers $50 million to address the disproportionate impacts of coronavirus in heavily polluted communities.
  • Safeguards our democracy by providing $3.6 billion to ensure that elections can be held safely in 2020.
  • Provides $100 million for Fishery Disaster Assistance.
  • FULL BILL SUMMARY - HERE
  • Allocates an additional $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 front lines who desperately need funds to pay health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and others who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. The Heroes Act will also establish a $200 billion Heroes’ Fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay.
  • Fights inequity in our health care system by requiring demographic breakdowns of coronavirus data and funds research health on inequities.

Heroes Act Related To Natural Resources

DIVISION A – Coronavirus Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Title II – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – $100 million for Fishery Disaster Assistance for Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants, in response to economic injury precipitated by the coronavirus.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs – $100 million, with a waiver of the local match requirement, including $30 million for grants to combat violence against women, $15 million for transitional housing assistance grants, $15 million for sexual assault victims assistance, $10 million for rural domestic violence and child abuse enforcement assistance, $10 million for legal assistance for victims, $4 million for assistance to Tribal governments, and $16 million to support families in the justice system.

Title III – Financial Services and General Government

Tribal Fiscal Relief – $20 billion in funding to assist Tribal governments with the fiscal impacts of the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.

Fiscal Relief for Territories – $20 billion in funding to assist governments of the Territories with the fiscal impacts of the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) – $1 billion for economic support and recovery in distressed communities by providing financial and technical assistance to CDFIs.

Assistance to Homeowners – $75 billion to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Elections – $3.6 billion for grants to states for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for federal office. 

Broadband – $1.5 billion to close the homework gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.

Assisting Small Businesses – $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered 4 financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Title V – Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Fish and Wildlife Service – $71 million to support activities related to wildlife-borne disease prevention, with $50 million for grants to states, Territories and Tribes for surveillance of wildlife-borne diseases.

United States Geological Survey – $40 million for biosurveillance and research related to wildlife-borne disease.

Bureau of Indian Affairs – $900 million to meet Tribal government needs necessary to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including:

  • $780 million to continue Tribal government operations and programs and to clean Tribal facilities.
  • $100 million to address overcrowded housing which is prohibiting social isolation.
  • $20 million for sanitation needs to provide for water hydration and hygiene issues to mitigate and respond to coronavirus.

Department of the Interior – $1 billion for building hospitals and critical infrastructure in the Insular Areas, as well as for general technical assistance in responding to Coronavirus; and $5 million to perform oversight, accountability, and evaluation of programs, projects, or activities in the Department of the Interior pandemic response. 

Environmental Protection Agency – $50 million for environmental justice grants, including investigating links between pollution exposure and the transmission and health outcomes of coronavirus in environmental justice communities.

Indian Health Service – $2.1 billion to address health care needs related to coronavirus for Native Americans, including:

  • $1 billion to account for lost third party revenues as a result of reduced medical care.
  • $64 million to assist Urban Indian Organizations.
  • $10 million to assist with sanitation, hydration and hygiene needs in Indian Country necessary to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  • $500 million to provide health care, including telehealth services to Native Americans, and to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
  • $140 million to expand broadband infrastructure and information technology for telehealth and electronic health records system purposes.
  • $20 million to provide health care, housing and isolation units for domestic violence victims and homeless Native Americans.
  • No less than $366 million to provide isolation or quarantine space.

National Endowment for the Arts - $10 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for grants to support the general operations of recipients and language to permit the waiver of matching requirements.

National Endowment for the Humanities - $10 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities for grants to support the general operations of recipients and language to permit the waiver of matching requirements.

Title VI – Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – $2.1 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including:

  • $2 billion for State, local, Territorial, and Tribal Public Health Departments and
  • $130 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – $3 billion to increase mental health support during this challenging time, to support substance abuse treatment, and to offer increased outreach, including:

  • $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant;
  • $1 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant;
  • $100 million for services to homeless individuals;
  • $100 million for Project AWARE to identify students and connect them with mental health services;
  • $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
  • $265 million for emergency response grants to address immediate behavioral health needs as a result of COVID-19;
  • $25 million for the Suicide Lifeline and Disaster Distress Helpline; and
  • Not less $150 million for tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian hea

Administration for Children and Families – $10.1 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children through programs including:

  • $7 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants;
  • $1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
  • $1.5 billion to support paying water bills for low income families;
  • $50 million for Family Violence Prevention and Services;
  • $20 million for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) State Grants; and
  • $20 million for Community Based-Child Abuse Prevention Grants.

Title IX – Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Highways – $15 billion for grants to support the ongoing work of State, Tribal, and Territorial Departments of Transportation and certain local governments to mitigate the effects of coronavirus including the salaries of staff and other administrative expenses.

DIVISION B – Revenue Provisions

 Title I – Economic Stimulus

Subtitle B – Additional Recovery Rebates To Individuals

Sec. 20111. Additional recovery rebates to individuals. Provides a $1,200 refundable tax credit for each family member that shall be paid out in advance payments, similar to the Economic Impact Payments in the CARES Act. The credit is $1,200 for a single taxpayer ($2,400 for joint filers), in addition to $1,200 per dependent up to a maximum of 3 dependents. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for joint filers) at a rate of $5 per $100 of income. Treasury shall issue this credit as an advance payment based on the information on 2018 or 2019 tax returns.

Treasury shall issue advance payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries who did not file returns for 2018 or 2019 based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration. Treasury shall conduct outreach to non-filers to inform them of how to file for their advance payment.

Taxpayers receiving an advance payment that exceeds their maximum eligible credit based on 2020 information will not be required to repay any amount of the payment to the Treasury. If the credit based on 2020 information exceeds the amount of the advance payment, taxpayers can claim the difference on their 2020 tax returns. 

The recovery rebate improvements in sections 201 through 205 of this division generally apply to these additional rebates. Additionally, Treasury is instructed to make payments to the territories that relate to the cost of providing the credits for each territory. 

Sec. 20125. Application of earned income tax credit in possessions of the United States. Instructs Treasury to make payments to the territories that relate to the cost of each territory’s EITC. The possessions must provide Treasury with annual reports on the estimate of costs and a statement of costs with respect to the preceding year.

Subtitle D – Child Tax Credit

Sec. 20132. Application of child tax credit in territories. Instructs Treasury to make payments to each “mirror code” territory for the cost of the territories’ CTC. This amount is determined by Treasury based on information provided by the Territorial governments. Puerto Rico, which does not have a mirror code, will receive the refundable CTC by having its residents file for the CTC with the IRS. For American Samoa, which does not have a mirror code, Treasury is instructed to make payments in an amount estimated by Treasury as being equal to the aggregate benefits that would have been provided if American Samoa had a mirror code in place.

DIVISION C – Health Provisions

Title I – Medicaid

Section 30107. Medicaid coverage for citizens of Freely-Associated States. Restores Medicaid eligibility to individuals who are residents of the freely-associated states.

Title V – Public Health 

Subtitle C—Testing and Testing Infrastructure Improvements

Section 30547. GAO report on diagnostic tests. Requires a GAO report on the response of laboratories, diagnostic test manufacturers, state, local, Tribal, and Territorial governments, and relevant federal agencies, related to the COVID-19 epidemic with respect to the development, regulatory evaluation, and deployment of diagnostic tests.

Section 30548. Public health data system transformation. Requires HHS to expand, enhance, and improve public health data systems used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes: grants to State, local, Tribal, or Territorial public health departments for the modernization of public health data systems in order to assist public health departments in assessing current data infrastructure capabilities and gaps; to improve secure public health data collection, transmission, exchange, maintenance, and analysis; to enhance the interoperability of public health data systems; to support and train related personnel; to support earlier disease and health condition detection; and to develop and disseminate related information and improved electronic case reporting.

Subtitle D—COVID-19 National Testing and Contact Tracing (CONTACT) Initiative

Section 30561. National system for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation. Requires CDC to coordinate with state, local, Tribal, and Territorial health departments to establish and implement a national evidence-based system for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation of COVID-19, including offering guidance on voluntary isolation and quarantine of positive COVID-19 cases.

Section 30562. COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation grants. Requires CDC to award grants to state, local, Tribal, and Territorial health departments to carry out evidence-based systems for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation of COVID-19. CDC shall provide a minimum level of funding for all State, local, Tribal, and Territorial health departments, and prioritize additional funding for areas with high number of cases of COVID-19, areas with a surge in cases of COVID-19, and those proposing to serve high numbers of low-income and uninsured populations, including underserved populations. Funding shall be used to leverage or modernize existing systems, identify specific strategies for testing in medically underserved populations, establish culturally competent and multilingual strategies for contact tracing, hire and compensate a locally-sourced workforce, and support individuals who have been infected with or exposed to COVID-19.

Section 30563. COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation guidance. Requires CDC and other relevant agencies to issue guidance, provide technical assistance and information, and establish clear communication pathways for state, local, Tribal, and Territorial health departments for the establishment and maintenance of their testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation systems.

Section 30564. Awareness campaign. Provides grants for a multilingual and culturally appropriate national, science-based COVID-19 campaign, to include information related to availability of testing and promote the importance of contact tracing. Grants can be issued to public or private entities, including faith-based organizations.

Subtitle E—Demographic Data and Supply Reporting Related to COVID–19

Section 30572. Regular CDC reporting on demographic data. Requires the Secretary of HHS, no later than 14 days following enactment, to update and make publicly available the report to Congress required by the Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act on the collection of data on race, ethnicity, age, sex, and gender of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. The updated report must include how the Secretary will provide technical assistance to state, local, and Territorial health departments to improve collection and reporting of demographic data, and requirements for the report to be updated every 30 days and to identify any barriers for such health departments in collecting such data.

Section 30573. Federal modernization for health inequities data. Authorizes funding to AHRQ, CDC, CMS, FDA, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and NIH to modernize their data collection methods and infrastructure in order to increase data collection related health inequities.

Section 30574. Modernization of state and local health inequities data. Authorizes grants to state, local, and Territorial health departments in order to support the modernization of data collection methods and infrastructure in order to increase data collection related health inequities.

Section 30575. Tribal funding to research health inequities, including COVID-19. Requires the Indian Health Service (IHS), in coordination with CDC and NIH, to conduct research and field studies to improve understanding of Tribal health inequities.

Section 30576. CDC field studies pertaining to specific health inequities. Requires CDC to establish field studies to better understand health inequities that are not currently tracked by the Secretary of HHS. 

Section 30577. Additional reporting to Congress on the race and ethnicity rates of COVID19 testing, hospitalization, and mortalities. Requires the Secretary of HHS, by August 1, to expand on the report to Congress as required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act describing the testing, positive diagnoses, hospitalization, intensive care admissions, mortality rates, associated with COVID–19, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, age, sex, and gender. The Secretary of HHS must also now propose evidence-based response strategies to reduce disparities related to COVID-19 and a final report in 2024. 

Title VI – Public Health Assistance

Subtitle A—Assistance to Providers and Health System

Section 30612. Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program. Establishes a loan repayment program to enhance recruitment and retention of state, local, Tribal, and Territorial public health department workforce. 

Section 30613. Expanding capacity for health outcomes. Authorizes grants to expand the use of technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models to respond to COVID-19. To be eligible for funding under this section, health entities must have experience providing services to rural, frontier, health professional shortage areas, medically underserved populations, or Indian Tribes. 

Section 30615. Grants for schools of medicine in diverse and underserved areas. Authorizes grants to schools of medicine in rural, underserved, or Minority-Serving Institutions. Grants can be used to build new schools of medicine and expand, enhance, modernize, support existing schools of medicine. Funding priority is given to rural, underserved, or Minority-Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. 

Section 30616. GAO study on public health workforce. Requires the GAO to conduct a study to investigate gaps, challenges, and recommended steps for improvement associated with the federal, state, local, Tribal, and Territorial public health workforce.

DIVISION M – Consumer Protection and Telecommunications Provisions

Title III – Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service

Sec. 301. Benefit for Broadband Service During Emergency Periods Relating to COVID-19. Entitles households in which a member has been laid off or furloughed to get a $50 benefit, or a $75 benefit on Tribal lands, to put toward the monthly price of internet service during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Internet service providers would be required to provide eligible households service at a price reduced by an amount up to the emergency benefit, and those providers can seek a reimbursement from the FCC for such amount. This would authorize nearly $9 billion to cover the costs of reimbursements.

DIVISION K – COVID-19 HERO Act

 Title II – Protecting Renters and Homeowners from Evictions and Foreclosures

Sec. 110201. Emergency rental assistance. This section would authorize $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program that would allocate funding to states, territories, counties, and cities to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and elp rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs. 

Sec. 110202. Homeowner Assistance Fund. This section provides $75 billion to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Title VIII – Providing Assistance for State, Territory, Tribal, and Local Governments

Sec. 110801. Emergency relief for state, Territorial, Tribal, and local governments. This section expands the Federal Reserve’s assistance to local governments by allowing U.S. territories, as well as a greater number of cities and counties, to be eligible issuers in the Federal Reserve’s municipal liquidity facility. 

DIVISION P – ACCESS Act 

Section 160007. Voter Registration.

Section 160008. Accommodations for Voters Residing in Indian Lands.

  • Permits an Indian Tribe to designate buildings as ballot pickup and collection locations and to designate one building per precinct located within Indian lands at no cost to the Indian Tribe.
  • Requires states or political subdivisions to collect ballots from designated locations and to provide Indian Tribes with accurate precinct maps for all precincts located within Indian lands at least 60 days before an election.
  • Requires states or political subdivisions to provide absentee ballots for federal elections to each individual who is registered to vote and who resides on Indian lands without requiring a residential address or a mail-in or absentee ballot request.
  • Ensures that voters living on Indian lands may use the address of a designated building for ballot pickup and collection as their residential and mailing address if such building is in the same precinct of the voter, and if the building is not in the same precinct, may use the address of another Tribally designated building within Indian lands.
  • Requires that states or political subdivisions covered under section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 provide all applicable language accessibility requirements.
  • Permits the Attorney General to bring a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court as may be necessary to carry out the requirements of this section and permits a private right of action.
  • Goes into effect in the November 2020 election and for each succeeding federal election.

DIVISION S – Other Matters 

Title I — Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act

Sec. 190102. Sharing Arrangements with Federal Agencies. Authorizes the Indian Health Service (IHS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Department of Defense (DOD) to enter into arrangements for the sharing of medical facilities and services with urban Native American organizations. The VA and DOD shall also reimburse an urban Native American organization where services are provided to beneficiaries eligible for services from either department.

Title II — Tribal School Federal Insurance Parity 

Sec. 190202. Amendment to The Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Clarifies that schools that receive grants under the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988 can participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program (FEHB) program and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program.

Title III — PRC for Native Veterans Act

Sec. 190302. Clarification of Requirement of Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to Reimburse Indian Health Service for Certain Health Care Services. Requires the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to reimburse Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribally-run health facilities for Purchased/Referred Care (PRC) used for treating Native American veterans.

Title IV — Wildlife-Borne Disease Prevention

Section 190402. Measures to address species that pose a risk to human health. This section authorizes $21,000,000 for U.S. wildlife agencies to work with the CDC to identify wildlife species that pose a risk to human health and to perform risk analyses to determine which species should be listed as “injurious” under the Lacey Act in order to limit trade of such species.

Section 190403. Trade of injurious species and species that pose a risk to human health. This section amends the Lacey Act of 1900 to allow for species that transmit pathogens that pose risks to human health to be listed as “injurious,” which would prohibit the import and transport of those species, and to allow for emergency listings in the case of threats to human health. It also prohibits transportation of injurious species across state lines to limit spread of disease. 

Section 190404. National Wildlife Health Center. This section directs the U.S. Geological Service’s National Wildlife Health Center to establish a national database for wildlife diseases, including diseases that have the potential to infect humans, and to provide technical and scientific support for surveillance of emerging wildlife-borne diseases with the potential to infect humans, to coordinate surveillance, and to provide models and risk assessments of species and diseases. 

Section 190405. Surveillance by States, Tribes, and Insular Areas. This section directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide funds to states, the District of Columbia, Tribes, and territories to conduct surveillance of emerging wildlife-borne diseases with the potential to infect humans.

Title VII — Energy and Environment Provisions

Section 190701. Home Energy and Water Service Continuity. Requires states and utilities receiving federal emergency funds to adopt or maintain in force policies to prevent shutoffs and ensure safety and continuity of home energy and water services to residential customers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Section 190702. Grants for Environmental Justice Communities Disproportionally Affected by COVID-19. Authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental justice grants and provides up to $50 million in additional FY 2020 funds for the sole purpose of investigating or addressing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 in environmental communities.

Section 190703. Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Assistance. Provides financial assistance to low income and other adversely affected consumers to assist with payments for drinking water and wastewater expenses by authorizing $1.5 billion for grants to states, territories and Indian Tribes.

Section 190704. Water Service Continuity. Adds additional requirements to protect water services to residential customers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Ensures all occupied residences are connected to water services throughout the emergency’s duration, and that any reconnections are conducted in a manner that minimizes health risks. It also prohibits providers from assessing late fees for nonpayment occurring during the emergency period.

DIVISION T – Additional Other Matters

Sec. 200003. Application of Buy American. The Stafford Act has a Buy American requirement limited only to Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. This provides a waiver – only during the COVID-19 pandemic – so these four entities may source crucial personal protective and medical equipment internationally, if necessary, just as other States can.