Bold, Progressive HEROES Act Meets the Unprecedented Crisis We Face

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“We applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for introducing a stimulus bill that rises to the level of our current crisis and aims to combat the health and economic disparities that are disproportionately burdening workers and communities of color during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, introduced yesterday, addresses disparities in a number of ways, including by eliminating employer exemptions to paid leave and paid sick days protections that were more likely to impact women and workers of color. The gaps in emergency leave provisions passed in previous coronavirus bills left behind up to 106 million working people. The bill also ensures — and provides state, federal and local funding for — the collection and public reporting of coronavirus data by race and ethnicity.

We were pleased to see the bill contained provisions that met many of the concerns of the women’s community, including: coverage of coronavirus treatment with no cost-sharing; improved access to telehealth; funding to Indian Health Services for health services related to coronavirus; and extended Medicaid coverage for the uninsured for coronavirus testing and treatment.

While the HEROES Act makes an important statement about how we confront the coronavirus crisis by centering our response around the workers and communities most harmed, there is more that needs to be done. The bill does not provide adequate funding to stabilize the child care system, does not address the unique needs of incarcerated people and fails to establish permanent paid sick days and paid leave standards.

We call on the House to pass the HEROES Act without delay. And instead of immediately writing off any attempts at additional legislation, we implore Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to continue working on additional coronavirus response legislation.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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