Lowey Floor Remarks on The Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act:

Mr. Speaker, more than 86,000 Americans have died, more than 1.4 million have become sick, and more than 36 million have lost their jobs because of coronavirus.

While Congress has taken significant action, we must do more.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell urged Congress to think big to address this crisis.

The Heroes Act is a bold step to provide that support and ensure our nation meets the challenge of the pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.

Within the Appropriations division, this bill deploys more than $1.5 trillion in federal funds to address this health and economic crisis.

First, the bill delivers nearly $1 trillion to states and local governments so they can keep our heroes – first responders, health workers, teachers, and other public servants – paid and working for the American people.

I am proud that this bill will provide $67 billion to my home state of New York, which has been hit so hard by this crisis.

Second, we will only beat this disease with a robust national strategy for testing, tracing and treatment.

Yesterday, Dr. Rick Bright – one of the federal government’s top scientists – warned us, and I quote: “If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.”

To that end, this bill builds on the CARES Act with $75 billion for a nationwide testing and contact tracing strategy and an additional $100 billion for the Health Provider Relief Fund.

Third, we must meet the challenge that the economic effects of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are having on families.

As a mother and grandmother, I am deeply concerned about the effects of coronavirus on children and their education. We are including $100 billion to support K-12 and higher education systems as they respond to this crisis.

To address rising hunger, this bill funds an expansion of SNAP benefits and other nutrition programs, so that children and families have enough to eat.

To prevent a housing crisis, we are deploying new funds worth nearly $200 billion to help struggling families make rent or pay their mortgages.

Finally, to stop this crisis from weakening our democracy, we have included funding to hold safe elections, to carry out a fair and accurate Census, and to ensure that the Postal Service can continue safely delivering mail to American households.

I am so proud of the hard work of so many to ensure this bill provides the help that families, businesses, and communities need.

Mr. Speaker, The Heroes Act will meet the challenges this pandemic poses to our nation. I urge a YES vote and I reserve the balance of my time.

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116th Congress