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Clarke Supports Newly-Passed HEROES Act

Provides relief to Brooklyn’s frontline workers and Americans suffering from COVID-19

Washington, DC- Tonight Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) voted for the HEROES Act, to support our nation’s essential workers in their efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak and others affected by COVID-19. This bill passed 208-199 in the House of Representatives and provides a monumental effort in supporting frontline workers across America, including in Brooklyn, who are risking their lives to keep the greater community safe. 

This week Newsweek reported on the devastation COVID-19 has had on Brooklyn. Clarke raised this article’s findings while speaking on the House floor this afternoon in support of the HEROES Act: “My beloved Brooklyn has the distinction of having more COVID-related deaths than any county in the United States, with our borough’s death toll exceeding the combined death toll of 46 entire states,” said Clarke. “While the HEROES Act doesn’t provide all that I believe is required to truly heal our nation, this bill is a critical step in protecting Brooklynites and all Americans and will help in stabilizing our economy and providing relief to those who are suffering,” Clarke continued. 

The HEROES Act will:

  • commit another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment needed to have a a science-based path to safely reopen America and help ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment;
  • provide strong support for heroes with nearly $1 trillion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments on the frontlines who desperately need funds to pay the health care workers, police, fires, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep communities safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. The HEROES Act will also establish a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay;
  • put money in the pockets of American workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, provide new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and extend weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January;
  • support small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and;
  • ensure further support for Americans, including for: 
    • health security—with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance 
    • workplace security—requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems. 
    • housing security—with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs. 
    • food security—with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.
  • protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census and preserve the Postal Service.

In spite of the accomplishments of this legislation, there were additional items Clarke would have liked to see in the HEROES Act, including much greater provisions for affordable housing and nationwide immigrant protections. In particular, she sought for inclusion of an additional $32 billion in funding for the New York City Housing Authority.

Clarke said: “As we sit here in the middle of a crisis, I am proud to have cast my vote in support of the HEROES Act that will give hazard pay for frontline workers who are risking their lives each day to protect our community, will provide billions of dollars for testing to help curb this virus and will provide support to families and Small Businesses who are struggling because of COVID-19.”


Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the Homeland Security Committee.