Progressive lawmakers must oppose the bill in order to stop being taken for granted and to effectively leverage their power for stronger legislation moving forward
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2020
Contact: David Segal, [email protected]
Demand Progress is urging members of the House of Representatives to oppose the so-called HEROES Act on the grounds that it does not do enough to address the impact of the crisis on ordinary people, does not make provisions for sufficient oversight, and unduly benefits the wealthy and large corporations.
Demand Progress supports several measures that were excluded from HEROES, including:
- Direct payroll support, as offered by Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and others;
- A ban on most mergers for the duration of the crisis, as offered by David Ciciline (D-RI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and others;
- An allocation by the International Monetary Fund of “special drawing rights” to support the needs of emerging markets, as offered by Chuy Garcia (D-IL) and others;
- An expansion of federal health insurance programs to the unemployed;
- Funding for proper congressional oversight of the COVID-19 response, including funding for congressional committees;
- Funding for congressional modernization to support remote deliberations and technology modernization.
Meanwhile HEROES includes several objectionable provisions, including:
- A bailout of corporate lobbyists by making the Paycheck Protection Program apply to 501(c)6 and 501(c)4 associations;
- A bailout of debt collectors and mortgage services;
- A bailout of large landlords;
- Effective support for health insurance companies by steering those in need of insurance into COBRA rather than Medicare or Medicaid.
Demand Progress continues to object to the ongoing dysfunction in the House of Representatives that follows from a lack of mechanisms for remote lawmaking and committee hearings. As discussed here, current procedures serve to disempower progressive lawmakers in particular and prevent meaningful oversight of the Trump Administration’s oversight of the crisis.
According to David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress:
“This bill doesn’t do nearly enough to help those in need and does far too much to help those who are not. It bails out lobbyists but doesn’t do enough to help small businesses meet payroll. It bails out mortgage services and debt collectors but doesn’t provide easy and affordable health insurance access to people who’ve lost their jobs. It rejects a merger ban that would help ensure the economy works for ordinary people, not for large corporations that will seek to use easy access to cash to consolidate their power. It excludes language to facilitate the IMF’s allocation of ‘special drawing rights’ to help ensure that emerging economies have access to medical supplies and other basic needs.
“Moreover, House Leadership has repeatedly made it clear it does not take concerns of progressives seriously, and is actively seeking to disempower them. Progressives must oppose this bill so as to stop being taken for granted and to set us on a course that leads to stronger legislation moving forward.”
According to Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress:
“The House of Representatives missed a major opportunity to strengthen its oversight capabilities by restoring funding to its committees and the GAO that have been decimated over the last decade. Congress had significantly more resources to oversee the bailout in 2008 and 2009, and much more money is flowing out the door now. In addition, because the pandemic has made it unsafe and unwise for Congress to meet in person, the legislative branch failed to infuse sufficient funds to modernize so they can transition to seamless operations at a distance. While these funds would amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of new spending, they would reap enormous returns on investment.”