– U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement on H.R.6800, The Heroes Act, a major aid relief package aimed at protecting the lives and livelihood of American families as the nation combats the public health and economic emergencies caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus. The bill, which is expected to pass later today, is the fifth COVID-19 relief bill to pass the House this year.
In April, Congressman Crist sent a letter to House leadership suggesting 19 additional provisions for inclusion in upcoming coronavirus response stimulus packages. The Heroes act includes 13 of Crist’s provisions.
“The People’s House has acted time and time again to send Americans a clear message: help is on the way. It’s a message and core focus that has been the driving force in passing landmark legislation to lend a hand to everyday Floridians and small businesses to weather this storm. The Heroes Act is no exception, taking our commitment to the well-being of the people one step further by truly focusing on what matters most during this crisis.
“In Pinellas, I’ve heard non-stop from my bosses about what Congress needed to do to truly lift our country out of this crisis. It’s why I’m proud to vote for a bill that includes priorities I’ve been fighting for: another round of stimulus checks for Pinellas families; an increase in SNAP benefits and flexibility to purchase food; an additional $13/hour in federally funded hazard pay for essential workers; expanded small business assistance to better serve Pinellas restaurants and hospitality services; added borrower protections for forbearance relief to guarantee homeowners will not owe a lump sum balloon payment; increased funding for testing and personal protective equipment; nearly $1 trillion in state and local aid so governments do not have to raise taxes or layoff teachers, firefighters, police, and sanitation workers; expanded and strengthened unemployment insurance to get states like Florida the help they need in processing backlogged claims; and much more.
“The Heroes Act is big because the crisis we face is big. With Great Depression-level economic figures, this is no time to leave the American people to fend for themselves. Together we will make it through this crisis. I urge the Senate and the White House to put the people first and support The Heroes Act.”
Specifically, the Heroes Act:
- Includes another round of $1,200 economic impact payments per family members including dependents, up to $6,000 per household;
- Extends the weekly $600 federal unemployment payments to individuals through next January, on top of their state unemployment benefits;
- Increases SNAP benefits by 15 percent to afford low-income families the ability to purchase hot and prepared foods while safeguarding their safety;
- Allocates $175 billion in support for renters and homeowners to make monthly rent, mortgage, and utility payments;
- Grants student loan relief, suspends all payments, interests, and collections on federal student loans through September 2021 and provides up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness for economically distressed borrowers;
- Expands health coverage by creation of a special healthcare enrollment period and provides a full COBRA subsidy to ensure coverage for unemployed and uninsured workers;
- $375 billion for cities including direct funding for mid-size cities like St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, and Pinellas Park; (See below for breakdown)
- Provides $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures to control the spread of the virus and safely reopen;
- Nearly $1 trillion to states and localities to pay essential workers like health care workers, first responders, police officers, and teachers;
- Establishes a $13/hour hazard pay premium for essential workers who have risked their lives during this pandemic through the creation of a $200 billion Heroes’ fund;
- Puts workers’ safety first by requiring Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue standards for development and implementation of infection control plans in stores and workplaces;
- Keeps 60 million Americans connected to their paychecks and benefits by enhancing the new employee retention text credit;
- Strengthens the Payroll Protection Program for non-profits, restaurants, and hospitality and provides an additional $10 billion in emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan program grants;
- Supports local newspapers like our own Tampa Bay Times by allowing them to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program;
- Creates a grant program for counties and municipalities to hire a local public health workforce for testing, contact tracing, containment, and mitigation efforts, and;
- $3.6 billion for elections and protecting the vote with 15 days of early voting and no-excuse vote by mail;
Funding for Florida and Pinellas County localities:
- Florida - $12.32 billion in 2020; $14.316 billion in 2021
- Pinellas County - $365.5 million in 2020; $182.77 million in 2021
- St. Pete - $89.5 million in 2020; $44.76 million in 2021
- Clearwater - $40 million in 2020; $20 million in 2021
- Largo - $26.7 million in 2020; $13.35 million in 2021
- Pinellas Park - $19.14 million in 2020; $9.57 million in 2021
- Seminole - $6.2 million in 2020; $3 million in 2021
- Gulfport - $4.1 million in 2020; $2 million in 2021
- Indian Rocks Beach - $1.4 million in 2020; $700k in 2021
- Madeira Beach - $1.4 million in 2020; $712k in 2021
- Treasure Island - $2.3 million in 2020; $1.14 million in 2021
- Kenneth City - $1.67 million in 2020; $833k in 2021
- North Redington Beach - $486k in 2020; $243k in 2021
- Redington Beach - $487k in 2020; $244k in 2021
- Redington Shores - $760k in 2020; $380k in 2021
- South Pasadena - $1.7 million in 2020; $842k in 2021
- Indian Shores - $486k in 2020; $243k in 2021
*All data reflects estimated awards, actual award may vary. Estimates are based on data from CRS, Census Bureau, and HUD.
*2021 state allocation assumes equal unemployment distribution and that labor force shares remain constant.
*Entitlement community and county data is based on the 2019 Census.
*Nonentitlement communities allocation data is based on the 2018 Census, estimates reflect the total nonentitlement that underlying population generates – overlapping jurisdiction may reduce amounts provided to governments, and town totals will not sum to total allocation.