O’Halleran Votes in Favor of New Coronavirus Relief Package
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) voted in favor of H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, new legislation to address the public health crisis and economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“After spending this week reviewing this legislation, I voted in favor of the Heroes Act today to provide much-needed funding for testing, tracing, and treatment operations, small businesses, state, local, and tribal governments, broadband programs, and tribal communities in my district facing disproportionately high numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths,” said O’Halleran. “We are in an unprecedented situation, but I remain concerned that there was a lack of regular order and accountability in this bill’s rapid journey to the House floor, and I was frustrated by the lack of bipartisan negotiations offered by leadership in both Houses of Congress. We must find ways to adjust to our new circumstances while maintaining a legislative process that ensures review, debate, and oversight, and puts American families above politics.”
The Heroes Act includes
- $75 billion in new funding for coronavirus testing, tracing, and treatment operations;
- relief for small businesses in new funding, program fixes, and extensions for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, as well as an expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit;
- nearly $1 trillion for state, local, county, and tribal governments to protect important programs, government functions, and pay vital health care workers, police, firefighters, first responders, teachers, and those who have continued to work to keep our communities safe, clean, and healthy;
- $500 billion for states, $375 billion for localities, and $20 billion for tribes
- $5.5 billion for broadband initiatives and programs to keep America connected;
- $2.1 billion for the Indian Health Service and $900 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to assist tribes like the Navajo Nation in Arizona dealing with a disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths;
- an additional one-time $1,200 stimulus payment to individuals who qualify, and an extension of current, federal unemployment benefit changes through January 31, 2021.
The bill also includes $25 billion for the United States Postal Service, an initiative for which O’Halleran and his Arizona delegation colleagues have advocated.
“This national emergency requires continual, ongoing discussion about how we can work together to overcome this pandemic. In the future, we must ensure that all voices are present where decisions are made, and that any non-COVID-19 related items included within these legislative packages are essential to the health and safety of the American people, or are omitted entirely,” continued O’Halleran. “However, right now, waiting is not an option for American families. We must move forward with discussions and debate on these critical issues and use this bill to jumpstart that process. I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to identify necessary fixes to coronavirus-related legislation passed thus far, and I will continue listening to Arizona families to see what may be needed next.”
Earlier this month, O’Halleran penned an op ed that listed five essential items he wanted to see in the next legislative package to address COVID-19.