Schakowsky Votes For The Heroes Act: Includes Nursing Home Provisions and Boosts Local Municipalities

May 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, voted in favor of The Heroes Act, House Democrats’ latest legislation to address the continued public health crisis and provide desperately needed support for struggling families and essential workers, with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers and strengthened assistance for the American people.  Congresswoman Schakowsky also released a new detailed estimate of the direct benefits that the Heroes Act would provide to Illinois and local communities. The legislation passed by a vote of 208-199.

“I voted yes on the Heroes Act to keep paying teachers, nurses, and first responders that are on state and local payrolls, and to ensure hospitals have the resources they need to treat patients and keep frontline healthcare workers safe,” Congresswoman Schakowsky stated. “Our first responder frontline heroes are at risk of losing their jobs as local governments see their income dry up during this pandemic.  We passed the Heroes Act to protect Illinois families and ensure all our frontline heroes  can continue to get paid and have the support they need to continue to save lives and keep our communities safe and healthy.”

The Heroes Act also includes provisions of Schakowsky’s Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act (H.R. 6698) introduced last week and provisions of her Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors (ACCESS) Act (H.R. 6487) introduced last month. If enacted, the legislation will protect the health and well-being of those living and working in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“I introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act and the ACCESS Act to comprehensively address the critical issues facing individuals who rely on nursing homes for their lives and livelihoods during this national emergency. With key pieces from my legislation included in the Heroes Act, we take the first step to ensuring that long-term care residents and workers are adequately protected from COVID-19. The Heroes Act provides $150 million for the deployment of expert strike teams to nursing homes struggling with COVID-19 cases; mandates transparency and demographic-specific reporting of COVID-19 cases, fatalities, and other essential data; prioritizes testing for older Americans and individuals with disabilities; enhances the ability of nursing home residents to virtually connect with their loves ones, and creates new, COVID-19 only facilities with criteria that prioritize resident safety,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Though there are other significant provisions I would have liked included in the Heroes Act to uplift families and workers throughout the United States, I look forward to seeing the Senate pass this legislation so we can ensure a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis for long-term care residents, staff, and their families.”

The Heroes Act provides the Illinois government and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. 

An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act over the next two years will provide $17.9B in state funding for the people of Illinois in addition to urgently needed funding for communities in Illinois’ 9th Congressional District:

  • Cook County $2.9 billion
  • Arlington Heights $20 million
  • Des Plaines $22 million
  • Evanston $131.7 million
  • Glenview $23.3 million
  • Golf $244,875
  • Kenilworth $1.2 million
  • Lincolnwood $6.1 million
  • Morton Grove $11.3 million
  • Mount Prospect $18.9 million
  • Niles Township $51.2 million
  • Niles Village $14.4 million
  • Northbrook $16.4 million
  • Northfield $2.7 million
  • Park Ridge $18.4 million
  • Prospect Heights $7.9 million
  • Skokie $44.1 million
  • Wilmette $13.5 million
  • Winnetka $6.1 million

The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $3.3 million for Illinois communities.  This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary and public higher education and can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Heroes Act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy.

  • Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.  
  • 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.
  • 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 Illinoisans and all 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.  
  • Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service. 

“We must continue fighting for the families in the Chicagoland area and across the country that are struggling,” continued Congresswoman Schakowsky. “We must act now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities.  With the Heroes Act, House Democrats honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.” 

Video of the Congresswoman's speech on the House floor in support of the bill is available HERE.