Casten Priorities Included in House-Passed Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) voted for The Heroes Act, a $3 trillion emergency package to states, local governments, and individuals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes several provisions Casten has pushed for including a suspension to the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap that would provide significant economic relief to IL-06 residents at a time when we are bearing the financial burdens imposed by this pandemic.

The package also includes $75 billion for testing, tracing, and treatment; nearly $1 trillion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments; direct payments to families; a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay; and additional support for small businesses.

Casten said, “As our community continues to feel the economic burden of COVID-19, it’s imperative that Congress get help to those in need. I’ve consistently advocated and fought to ensure this package included relief for our small business community and local governments, and workplace protections for those on the front line of this pandemic. Given the crucial role that testing will play in reopening the economy, I am pleased that this bill includes important resources for COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts.

“While the Heroes Act prioritized funding for our state and local governments, there is more work to be done to ensure equitable funding for states with large populations, such as Illinois. I will continue to work with my colleagues on this important issue to ensure the State of Illinois gets its fair share of federal funding.”

An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide $36.1 billion in state funding for the people of Illinois in addition to urgently needed funding for 6th District communities.

The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $3,276,432 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.

The Heroes Act also includes  $126,578,696 toward election assistance. 

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Heroes Act:

  •  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 Illinois 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 our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census.
  • Preserves the Postal Service specifically providing $25 billion toward their services.