NACo Analysis: Updated Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act
On September 28, the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a $2.2 trillion coronavirus response package as part of a final effort to secure new aid before the November 3 election. On October 1, the House passed the measure in a 214-207 vote, largely along party lines. The bill (H.R. 8406) is an updated version of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) the U.S. House passed in May.
The scaled-back measure would preserve many major provisions from H.R. 6800, including an additional round of $1,200 relief checks, reauthorizing the small business lending program, resuming the $600 federal boost to the unemployment benefit through January, increasing food stamp benefits and providing assistance for the airline industry.
Of key importance to counties, the bill would provide $89.5 billion in direct and flexible funding to counties through new State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds, a reduction of nearly $100 billion from H.R. 6800. It also includes county priorities for retroactive changes to increase the flexibility of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) established under the CARES Act (PL 116-136).
Although the revised House package represents a potential compromise, the U.S. Senate has already indicated the bill is still too costly and the White House has sought to hold the funding level at $1.5 trillion.
This legislative analysis highlights key provisions for counties retained from the original HEROES Act as well as an overview of notable changes to emergency funding levels and other significant additions to the legislation.