Late Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders introduced the “HEROES Act” — their proposal for the next federal legislative response to the Covid-19 crisis impact on American society.
Nathan Diament, the OU’s Executive Director for Public Policy, issued the following statement about the proposal:
The HEROES Act contains many bipartisan reforms designed to improve the previously enacted CARES Act and provide more support to charitable nonprofits and faith-based organizations throughout the country. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum are now aware that arbitrary size standards in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) excluded too many vital nonprofit organizations that are poised to retain and even expand employment if they have access to needed resources.
The HEROES Act would create a pool of funds within the PPP exclusively for nonprofits to ensure that these organizations receive the forgivable loans they need to provide essential services and put newly unemployed people back to work. These provisions align with the support we have from bipartisan leaders in Congress including Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and others.
The bill also provides a boost to larger families in the federal stimulus payments they are eligible to receive but counting dependent children over age 17 — up to a maximum of $6,000. The House proposal also includes important emergency funding for targeted state formula grants and programs that can provide a rapid infusion of cash to nonprofit organizations that state and local governments hire to assist vulnerable families and front-line responders.
We are disappointed that this legislation does not improve charitable giving incentives to enhance the ability of nonprofits to address the skyrocketing demand for their services resulting from more than 33 million people losing their jobs. We are also concerned that technical corrections to a CARES Act unemployment insurance provision don’t go far enough to protect the thousands of organizations that self-insure in the unemployment system from having to pay out millions of dollars in benefit costs in the coming weeks and months when they can least afford it. And, we are concerned that the House proposal seeks to claw back the portion of CARES Act funds to stabilize K-12 schools that were to be equitably shared with Jewish and other nonpublic schools that are also under severe economic stress in these times.
The Orthodox Union will work with bipartisan members of the House and Senate and our coalition partners to improve and pass this critical legislation to help our communities and charities overcome their current challenges.