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Napolitano’s Statement on House Passage of the Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte), released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act:

“As of today, at least 85,000 Americans are reported to have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with at least 1.4 million positive cases reported in the U.S. This pandemic has wreaked havoc on our public health, our way of life, and our economy. It has been extremely stressful for the constituents I’ve spoken with, from the small business owners struggling to obtain a loan, to the frontline workers demanding protective equipment and safety on the job. The Heroes Act provides desperately needed support for struggling families and our brave workers, including life-saving mental health services and access to clean and safe water, which I am proud to have helped secure in this legislation.

“Many local leaders have told me how concerned they are over losing revenues, while at the same time seeing their costs soar with the growing demand by residents for public services. Our bill provides an estimated $448 million directly to cities in my district to help pay our heroes in the San Gabriel Valley—our health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers, and other essential workers—who are fighting every day to keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.

“The bill includes $3 billion to address the urgent mental health crisis unfolding across our nation. To handle increased call volume and text messages to crisis helplines, it provides $25 Million for SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It also provides $100 Million for Project AWARE to identify students and connect them with mental health services and $90 billion in additional grants for states to support schools, which could be used for counseling, mental health services, and family engagement efforts. These life-saving resources are necessary now and will be as schools re-open and regular classes resume.

“Clean and safe water is a basic human need, in times of crisis or not, and it is absolutely vital to protect our well-being against this deadly virus. The Heroes Act provides $1.5 billion to help low-income households pay for their water bills, puts a national moratorium on water shutoffs to households during this crisis, and requires utilities to turn the water back on for households that have had their water turned off over the last three months. Ensuring clean and safe water for drinking as well as washing hands, clothes, and bodies must remain a top priority during this crisis and in our future recovery.

“The Heroes Act extends these and other lifelines to our communities, protecting the lives and livelihoods of frontline workers, American families, and small businesses as we confront the ongoing pandemic. It is a strong, coordinated government response and the critical next step toward meeting the urgent challenges this public health emergency requires and our constituents need.”

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