The House of Representatives introduced a new stimulus bill called the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or the "HEROES Act" this morning. This $3 trillion proposal far exceeds the cost of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which is the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history. The House will meet on Friday, May 13th, to vote on this bill.
What Does The HEROES Act Bill Cover? The HEROES Act would provide funding for a wide range of groups, a new stimulus check, funding for state and local governments, hazard pay for essential workers, funding for coronavirus testing, rent and mortgage assistance, an extension of the $600 weekly unemployment expansion, additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, additional funding for small businesses, emergency relief for the U.S. Postal Service, provisions for election safety, and facilitating voting by mail.
The HEROES Act includes another stimulus check that would benefit individual taxpayers and their families. It would include another one-time $1,200 payment for individuals who earn up to $75,000. Families could also receive $1,200 for up to three qualified dependents (unlike the $500 payment under the CARES Act). This means some families could receive up to $6,000.
The HEROES Act also changes the wording from the CARES Act from “children” to “dependents,” which increases the number of eligible recipients. The income limits for eligibility are the same as those under the CARES Act:
Married Filing Jointly: $150,000
Head of Household: $112,500
There is also a phase-out for incomes:
Single: $75,000 through $99,000.
Married Filing Jointly: $150,000 through $198,000.
Head of Household: $112,500 through $136,500.
The HEROES Act Changes Some Stimulus Rules from the CARES Act Some taxpayers did not receive an Economic Impact Payment under the CARES Act if their tax return did not include Social Security or TIN numbers for everyone included on the tax return. This included married couples who filed a return in which at least one person should have qualified for a stimulus payment.
The HEROES Act changes that by providing stimulus payments to all qualified persons on a tax return. Those who do not qualify will simply not be eligible for a payment, instead of preventing the entire payment to go through as with the CARES Act. It also prohibits the stimulus checks from being garnished.
How Would We Receive Funds If This Bill is Approved? This bill would provide stimulus checks in the same manner as the CARES Act. So, if your direct deposit information is already on file, you would receive your payment via direct deposit. If not, you will receive a check by mail. You would most likely have the opportunity to update your information via the IRS website as with the CARES Act.
Pandemic Premium Pay for Essential Workers A section titled Pandemic Premium Pay for Essential Workers is an idea first suggested by Senator Mitt Romney - to increase the pay of essential workers up to $12 an hour for the next three months.
The HEROES Act does him $1 better by increasing the premium pay to $13 an hour performed by an essential worker dating back to January 27th to 60 days after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
The bill has limits for highly-compensated and non-highly-compensated employees but this would be a big boon for many workers who have been out on the front lines during the pandemic.
Will The HEROES Act Be Passed? Proposing new legislation is always tricky, and this new proposal is the biggest of its kind, by far. It also pushes hard against political party lines and will surely get some pushback from the Republican party.
However, this bill may have more of a chance than some of the recent proposals that called for a $2,000 monthly stimulus check. Those programs were going to be significantly more costly than the HEROES Act, and do not provide funding for additional programs. As a result, those other programs are less likely to be passed.