House Passes HEROES Act, Latest COVID-19 Relief Bill
Late last week, the House passed the latest piece of COVID-19 relief legislation, the HEROES Act. The bill includes hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for local and state governments, while also seeking to address other priorities, such as unemployment insurance, financial assistance to individuals on COBRA to cover program premiums and a fund toward the increase of wages/salaries of front-line employees during the pandemic.
There is also a provision regarding the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, extending the covered period from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, changes were made to employee leave, paid leave and other provisions under the Family and Medical Leave Act, including the employer threshold from “fewer than 500 employees” to “one or more employees.”
All told, the HEROES Act from the House may approach $3 trillion in total funding, which exceeds the initial $2 trillion-dollar CARES Act that was signed into law in late March.
MCUL has concerns with some of the restrictions that are included in the new legislation and are working with CUNA and directly with lawmakers to create credit union-friendly legislation, going forward.
For instance, as drafted, the provisions of the HEROES Act related to mortgage forbearance and moratorium make very little effort, according to the League, to target the proposed relief to those who need it – specifically those borrowers who can demonstrate a financial hardship due to COVID-19-related illness or job loss. If these provisions are not altered or removed there should be a strong connection between the availability of relief and demonstrated COVID-19-related need.
Looking ahead, the League is advocating for continued relief for state, local and tribal governments. Likewise, providing $75 billion in funding for the proposed Homeowners Assistance Fund answers MCUL’s call that we look ahead to future challenges that borrowers and financial institutions will be navigating post-crisis.
The Senate appears reluctant to act on the bill and most predictions see the next round of stimulus bills having a slow passage, but the League will continue monitoring developments around the HEROES Act and any additional COVID-19-related legislation.
Find a detailed breakdown of the bill here.Go to main navigation