In a year of many unprecedented federal responses, the HEROES Act would make for another enactment of multiple trillion-dollar emergency spending bills in a single Congress.
The 1800+ page bill contains numerous provisions and multiple emergency appropriations. By our count Division A, the part of the bill that resembles a traditional emergency supplemental directing funding to various federal agencies, appropriates more than $1.5 trillion. Technically this $1.5 trillion+ accounts for costs for parts of Division C and D. It does not, however, include revenue effects or costs for making another round of stimulus checks to individuals, as this bill proposes to do. According to the CBO, the CARES Act provisions accounted for $1.7 trillion in increased deficits. The final price tag for this version of the HEROES Act will likely significantly exceed the CARES Act.
Highlights of the biggest spending pots in the HEROES Act:
- $540 billion Coronavirus State Fiscal Relief Fund – to mitigate fiscal effects of the virus
- $375 billion Coronavirus Local Fiscal Relief Fund – to cities, counties, and local governments to mitigate fiscal effects of the virus
- $100 billion Healthcare Provider Relief Fund
- $90 billion Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization
- $75 billion National Testing and Contact Tracing program
- $75 billion Homeowner Relief Fund
- $25 billion to the US Post Office
- $15.75 billion to Transit Agencies
- $15 billion in General Revenue to States to cover the costs of Highways
Division A continues a positive trend from the CARES Act in that it appropriates funds for Inspector Generals to monitor these new piles of cash.
Inspector General Funds
- USDA – $2.5 million through 9/30/2021
- NOAA – $1.0 million until expended
- DOJ – $3.0 million until expended
- Treasury – $35 million until expended for monitoring State Fiscal Relief Fund and Local Fiscal Relief Fund
- Treasury Inspector General for Tax – $2.5 million until expended
- USPS – $15 million until expended
- Homeland Security - $3 million until September 30, 2022
- Interior – $5 million until expended
- Labor – $5 million until expended
- Education – Funds appropriated in CARES Act are rescinded and an equal amount is appropriated and made available until expended
- Railroad Retirement Board – $500,000 until expended
- State – Foreign Affairs - $2 million until September 30, 2022
- Transportation – Expands authority of the IG to use the $5 million appropriated by CARES Act to conduct audits and investigations of DOT projects and activities undertaken in response to COVID-19, even if the project funding did not come from the CARES Act.