HEROES Act Would Provide Another Stimulus Check, Broader Student Loan Relief

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The House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package Friday, which would provide another round of stimulus checks to millions of eligible Americans and extend expanded unemployment benefits, among other provisions.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act, clocks in at over 1,800 pages and could provide some additional economic relief at a time when almost 37 million Americans have lost their jobs and many others are facing reduced hours and the loss of health insurance

Here's what you need to know about a few key financial provisions:

Economic impact payments

The bill includes a provision for another round of stimulus checks, or economic impact payments, of up to $6,000 per household. They would be structured similarly to the first round: Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get a one-time $1,200 check, and couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for $2,400.

There are a few key differences from the first round, though. For one, a maximum of three dependents, regardless of age, would also get $1,200. The first round of stimulus checks excluded adult dependents, including many college students. Additionally, immigrants with taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) would also be eligible for a payment this time around.

Unemployment benefits

For the 30-million-plus Americans who've filed unemployment claims over the past two months, the HEROES Act would extend the measures from the first stimulus package, including extending the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit through January 2021. Gig workers, independent contractors, part-time workers and the self-employed will also be able to take advantage of unemployment benefits through March 2021.

Student loan forgiveness

The CARES Act suspended interest and payments for most people with federal student loans through September 30, 2020. The HEROES Act extends that pause through September 2021, and expands it to all federal student loans, including Federal Perkins Loans and some FFEL Program and HEAL loans not owned by the Department of Education.

But it goes much further than that. It cancels up to $10,000 for some federal and private loan holders.

Rental and mortgage assistance

The country's 40-million-plus renters have received little additional federal support since the coronavirus shutdowns began. The HEROES Act changes that, providing around $100 billion for rental assistance. It would be distributed through an existing nationwide grant rental assistance program that would verify a tenant's inability to pay rent and give vouchers to cover the cost of rent and utilities. It would also extend the ban on evictions for nonpayment for a year following its enactment date.

The bill also provides $75 billion for a homeowner assistance fund meant to prevent mortgage defaults and property foreclosures.

Hazard pay

The bill would establish a $200 billion "Heroes' Fund" to provide hazard pay to some essential workers. This would come in the form of a $13 per hour pay premium on top of their regular pay for "all hours worked in essential industries through the end of 2020," up to $25,000 for essential workers earning less than $200,000 per year and up to $5,000 for workers earning more than $200,000 per year.

Next steps

The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is unlikely to gain much traction among the Republican-controlled chamber. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. called the bill "an unserious product from an unserious majority." President Donald Trump this week said the bill is "DOA."

That said, two White House officials told CNBC Thursday that the White House would likely support another round of economic impact payments.

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