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House to Take Up HEROES Act May 15th

On May 12, Democrats in the House of Representatives released the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The $3 trillion stimulus package includes nearly $1 trillion in relief funds for state and local governments, $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers, $100 billion for provider relief funds, and $75 billion for testing and contact tracing. A full section-by-section summary is available here.

The HEROES Act includes an investment of $3 billion for mental health and substance use disorder treatment, including:

  • $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant;
  • $1 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant;
  • $100 million for services to homeless individuals;
  • $100 million for Project AWARE to identify students and connect them with mental health services;
  • $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
  • $265 million for emergency response grants to address immediate behavioral health needs as a result of COVID-19;
  • $25 million for the Suicide Lifeline and Disaster Distress Helpline; and
  • Not less than $150 million for tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes across a variety of programs.

The HEROES Act also establishes an emergency mental health and substance use disorder training and technical assistance center. It also expands the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include all non-profit organizations, with 25% of existing funds being set aside solely for non-profit use.

The package represents the priorities of the Democratic Caucus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to use this bill to push Senate Republicans and the White House towards the negotiation table for the next round of stimulus legislation. The House will meet on Friday, May 15, 2020, to take up and vote on the HEROES Act, as well as a rules change that will allow lawmakers to vote and conduct committee work remotely. While the HEROES Act is expected to pass the House tomorrow, Senate Republicans are expected to take time to assess the impact of previously passed stimulus bills before committing to additional legislation.