Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House Passes Scaled-Back Heroes Relief Package with Postal Relief

This week, the House advanced an additional relief package (H.R. 925) to break the gridlock over ongoing negotiations with the White House and Senate over another round of COVID-19-relief. The bill dubbed “Heroes Act 2.0” passed the House on party lines by a vote on 214-207, with 18 Democrats and all Republicans voting against the measure.

House Democratic leadership scaled back on the size and scope of the measure to $2.2 trillion reflecting an urgency by House Democratic leadership to get some measure of relief passed prior to the November election. The original Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), which passed in May was $3 trillion and the Senate recently failed to advance a $1.5 trillion recent “skinny” measure, showing the vast difference between the chambers on how much is needed and where.

For the Postal Service, Heroes 2.0 includes $15 billion (reduced from $25 billion in original measure) for the Postal Service to cover COVID-related expenses and removes the terms and conditions on the $10 billion loan approved in the CARES Act this spring. The new bill also includes workers compensation benefits for postal employees who contract COVID-19, but unlike the original Heroes Act, does not include hazard pay for frontline workers and postal employees.

The measure would also continue unemployment insurance, provide another round of stimulus money to American families, additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, continued Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, funding to the nation’s schools and universities and additional resources for testing, tracing and treatment and provide funding to prevent more than 40,000 layoffs of airline workers.

While the House continues to keep up pressure on the Senate and White House to come to some sort of compromise before Election Day, the Senate has yet to advance any additional relief. At this point, it is unclear as to whether a deal can be reached. In addition, the Senate plans to turn its attention to proceedings to advance the nomination of Amy Comey Barret for the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. With the nomination being a contentious one, its hard to see a deal coming together before Election Day.

NALC will continue to call for relief for the Postal Service, favorable terms and conditions for the $10 billion Treasury loan and for hazard pay for our members on the front-line of this pandemic.

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