Last week the Republican-led Senate claimed that the $3 trillion stimulus package backed by House Democrats would be “dead on arrival” if it made its way to the Senate. That didn’t stop Nancy Pelosi from taking the HEROES Act to a vote on Friday. The measure passed mostly along partisan lines, 208-199.
The legislation, known as the HEROES Act, would allow Americans to receive an additional $1,200 stimulus check to help them financially as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep people out of work. It’s a step back from the $2,000 monthly recurring payment that was previously suggested by a number of Congressional Democrats. But this one-time payout would be distributed among a larger swath of the population.
According to The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), more than 4.3 million adults and 3.5 dependents would benefit from a change in the legislation that would allow people without a social security number but filed taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to receive a payment. According to Forbes, ITIN holders have contributed billions in net taxes since the tax processing identifier was created by the IRS in 1996.
The HEROES Act, much like the CARES Act, would allow $1,200 payments to individuals making $75,000 or less. Married couples who filed jointly could receive $2,400, and money would also be allotted for dependents. This time families could receive $1,200 per dependent up to three. The income caps remain $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. Similarly, the payout amount for people making above $75,000 and couples bringing in above $150,00 would reduce accordingly.
In addition to stimulus payments, the HEROES Act would send aid to local governments, extend unemployment benefits, expand coronavirus testing, help renters and mortgage holders make necessary housing and utility payments, and pour $10 billion more into the federal SNAP program.
Senator Cory Booker, in a recent op-ed for ESSENCE, opined that the federal government must “protect and enhance our social safety net programs right now. We need to provide rental assistance and a national moratorium on eviction, and increase SNAP benefits, known more widely as food stamps. We also need to enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to support low-income families.”