FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2020
Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán made the following statement on passage of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act:
In Los Angeles County, in California and across the country, people are still hurting. We are a long way from being out of this crisis. We need bold measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people during this pandemic.
This important legislation includes support for the frontline workers helping us survive this public health emergency. By giving aid to our states and cities, this bill supports our local health care workers, police, fire, EMTs, teachers and other vital workers who are keeping us safe and are at risk of losing their jobs. It will also make it possible for these workers to earn hazard pay as they are risking their own health in order to serve the rest of us.
The HEROES Act would put money into the pockets of the people who need it, with direct payments of $1,200 per person and up to $6,000 per family. The increased unemployment benefits of $600 per week would be extended through January 2021.
This bill takes care of hardworking immigrants who pay taxes and did not receive payments in the last bill. Every American should have equal access to COVID relief funds. However, some taxpayers – and even American citizens – have been denied payments because either they or their spouse has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and not a Social Security Number. It is discrimination against immigrant families, plain and simple. This bill stops that unfair treatment of people with an ITIN and makes them eligible for cash assistance.
To help make sure families do not lose their homes to foreclosure or are evicted, this bill would create a fund to help people in need pay their housing costs. It would also extend and expand the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures passed in the CARES Act.
This bill also protects healthcare for low-income people by including my bill to preserve funding for the Medicaid program. This is the wrong time to restrict people’s access to medical care.
This legislation also includes funding for COVID testing, contact tracing and treatment to get our nation on the road to recovery. We know from Dr. Rick Bright and others that the Trump Administration ignored the call to ramp up these supports in January. We cannot wait any longer to invest in these critical public health tools.
We need to make sure the funding in this bill goes to the families, workers and small businesses that it is intended to help. Unfortunately, we know at least $72 million in CARES Act funds have already been redirected through loopholes to the debt-ridden fossil fuel industry – without any protections for their workers.
This is why we need legislation like the ReWIND Act to ensure that this coronavirus relief package will serve as relief for the American people, not big oil and gas companies.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.