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Mucarsel-Powell Supports Passage Of Second COVID-19 Stimulus Package, The Heroes Act, To Bring Much-Needed Aid To South Florida

Date: May 15, 2020
Location: Washington, D.C.

Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) voted in favor of the Heroes Act, a bold and transformative relief package to broadly respond to the pandemic and ensuing economic catastrophe. This legislation assures all Americans have access to testing, tracing and treatment, honors those on the frontlines, and addresses the needs of struggling communities across the country. Mucarsel-Powell's legislation to cover treatment for COVID-19 for all Medicare Advantage enrollees passed as part of this package.

"The Heroes Act is the kind of response COVID-19 demands. With 1,917 dead, over 44,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 1.5 million initial unemployment claims in Florida in the past 9 weeks alone, it is time for Congress to act urgently -- no more putting the needs of Americans on pause," said Mucarsel-Powell. "I'm proud that this package includes my bill to extend COVID-19 treatment to 2.2 millions Floridians with Medicare Advantage, including 80,000 in my district. This bill invests in testing and contact tracing, includes funding for Florida's cities and counties to protect our front line heroes, and provides direct emergency aid to families and businesses. The Heroes Act isn't perfect, but it was written with the best interests of the American people at heart and builds on the bipartisan bills already passed by Congress to combat the coronavirus. Now, the Senate must put partisan politics aside and pass this legislation that helps ALL of our constituents during this unprecedented crisis."

Mucarsel-Powell successfully fought for this package to include her legislation to cover treatment of COVID-19 for Medicare Advantage recipients. South Florida has one of the highest concentrations of Medicare Advantage enrollees, and this legislation would ensure over 79,000 elderly and disabled FL-26 constituents can get treated for coronavirus without having to worry about going bankrupt.

An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide over $26 billion in state funding for the people of Florida through 2021. Miami-Dade County would receive over $1.5 billion and Monroe County would be allocated over $41 million through 2021.

A downloadable video of Mucarsel-Powell's floor statement prior to voting on this legislation can be found HERE.

Mucarsel-Powell is pleased to have ensured this legislation includes the following provisions she fought for to benefit the residents of South Florida:

Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.

Provides strong support for our heroes with nearly $1 trillion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments on the frontlines who desperately need funds to pay the health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. The Heroes Act will also establish a $200 billion Heroes' fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay. Miami-Dade County would receive over $1.5 billion and Monroe County would be allocated over $41 million through 2021.

Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.

Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Ensures further support for Americans, including for:

health security - with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance
workplace security -- requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems
housing security -- with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs.
food security -- with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.

Provides rental assistance to help struggling Floridians afford a safe place to live. The bill includes $175 billion in new funding to assist low-income renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing costs.

Creates mobile testing labs and requires HHS to develop a plan to expand testing availability and make testing more accessible, as well as how to implement the testing strategy in a manner that will help to reduce disparities with respect to COVID-19.

Strengthens paid family and sick leave by removing the exemption for employers with over 500 employees, requiring them to provide paid family and sick leave. It provides private sector and public sector employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days with the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave, regardless of the size of their employers.

Extends unemployment insurance for duration of pandemic and includes funding for states to quickly build up their UI systems to address the significant backlog in state unemployment claims.
Provides hazard pay for essential workers who are risking their lives on the frontlines. They will receive $13 per hour of hazard pay on top of their regular wages, to fairly compensate them for keeping our country running during the pandemic.

Establishes safety in the workplace with expanded OSHA regulations to protect health care and other workers at occupational risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.


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