Side-By-Side Comparison: the Senate HEALS Act vs. the House HEROES Act COVID-19

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Topic AreaHEALS Act (Republican Proposal)HEROES Act (Democrat Proposal)

Unemployment Insurance

  • Extends the enhanced weekly benefits through 12/31/20 at the following amounts:
  • Aug & Sept: $200/week
  • Oct-Dec: A payment (up to $500) that, when combined with the state UI payment, would replace 70% of lost wages. (States may apply for a waiver to continue paying a flat fee through Nov.)
  • Includes $2 billion for state unemployment system upgrades
  • Extension of $600/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to January 2021
  • Allows gig workers, independent contractors, part-time & self-employed workers typically ineligible for unemployment insurance to receive insurance (but not the additional pandemic unemployment compensation) through March 2021 (currently set to expire 1/31/21)

Liability Protection

  • The “Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees to Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy Act” (SAFE to WORK Act):
  • Gives exclusive federal cause of action that applies to natural persons, schools, colleges, charities, churches, government agencies, associations, and businesses due to COVID-19. Valid from 12/1/19 –10/1/24
  • Allows cases to be brought in state or federal court, but only one standard of liability applies. Defendants may move cases filed in state court to federal district court
  • Requires plaintiffs show defendant was grossly negligent OR engaged in willful misconduct & violated state/local public health guidelines in place at time of the incident
  • Limits compensatory damages to economic losses and prohibits punitive damages, except in cases involving intentional misconduct

Labor & Employment Law Liability

  • Protects employers from liability under federal labor and employment laws (including ADA, OSHA, and Civil Rights Act of 1964) for actions taken to comply with Coronavirus-related public-health guidance and regulations

Paycheck Protection Program—Forgiveness

  • Streamlined loan forgiveness for small loans <$150k
  • Intermediate forgiveness process for loans <$2 million
  • Expands eligible expenses that qualify for forgiveness to include covered operations expenditures, property damage costs, covered supplier costs, and covered worker protection expenditures
  • Expansion of loan forgiveness terms, but no streamlined forgiveness based on loan amount
  • Amendments to PPP Loan Forgiveness include:
  • Added flexibility for borrowers by extending the 8-week period to a 24-week period
  • Eliminates the 75/25 rule on use of loan proceeds
  • Clarifies the hold harmless provision for lenders


Small Businesses—Other PPP Provisions

  • “Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act” provides:
  • Second round of PPP loans of up to $2 million available for businesses under 300 workers or other small businesses with 50% lost revenue (smaller loan size than last round)
  • PPP set-asides for small entities, including those with fewer than 10 employees ($2 billion) and community institutions ($10 billion)
  • New loan program providing working capital loans for small businesses as an alternative to a second PPP loan
  • Simplifies the forgiveness application process for small loans
  • New allowable loan uses, which include working capital, acquisition of fixed assets, and refinancing existing indebtedness
  • Hold harmless provision for PPP lenders that no enforcement action could be taken against a lender who in good faith relief on borrower certifications or documentation
  • PPP eligibility expanded to all nonprofits
  • Funding set-asides focused on underserved communities and nonprofits
  • Expanded data collection requirements including total amount of fees paid to lenders
  • Improved coordination between PPP and Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Expands the pool of available capital for small firms by increasing the annual lending limit of the 7(a) program from $30 billion to $75 billion
  • Ensures the principal and interest loan assistance is not treated as taxable income to small business borrowers

State and Local Funding

  • No additional state/local aid; however, additional flexibility on state money granted through CARES Act
  • $1 trillion to state and local governments, including:
  • $500 billion for state fiscal relief
  • $375 billion for local fiscal relief

Back to School/Work

  • "Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act" will provide:
  • Work Child Care Grants that will help parents go back to work by providing:
  • Short-term assistance to child care centers, operators, providers
  • Critical resources to states to help child care providers reopen and stay open
  • Safe environments for children
  • Emergency Education Freedom Grants that will provide funding for scholarships for students to use towards educational expenses
  • “American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act” provides:
  • Improvements to Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to better match lost wages
  • Work Opportunity Tax credit (WOTC) which offers expanded access to the elective tax credit for hiring employers
  • “COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020” will require:
  • Employers to develop and implement a COVID-19 exposure control plan
  • Requires employers to comply with OSHA regulations
  • Prohibits retaliation against workers for reporting health and safety hazards.
  • Increases funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) which provides funding for child and family care for essential workers
  • Provides emergency flexibility for child welfare programs
  • Amends the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act by extending the benefits from 12/21/2020 –  12/31/2021
  • Amends the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act by extending the applicability from 12/31/2020 – 12/31/2021, as well as eliminates the large employer exemption and clarifies that nonprofit organizations are covered employees. It also ensures both full-time and part-time employees can earn full wage replacement

Economic Impact Payments

  • Second round of stimulus payments under same terms as CARES:
  • Max amount: $1,200 for singles & $2,400 for married couples, with up to $500/child (no age limit on child dependents unlike previous bill)
  • Single filers making ≤$75,000 & married couples filing jointly making ≤$150,000 receive full payment with phase out to incomes up to $99,000 and $198,000 (with no dependents), respectively
  • Prohibits garnishment withholding
  • Second round of stimulus payments similar to CARES, but with more money for dependents:
  • Max amount: $1,200 for singles & $2,400 for joint filers, with up to $1,200/child (max of $6,000 per household)
  • Single filers making ≤$75,000 & married couples filing jointly making ≤$150,000 receive full payment with phase out to incomes up to $99,000 and $198,000 (with no dependents), respectively
  • Prohibits garnishment withholding
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)  and Child Tax Credit (CTC) Expansion

Consumer/Employee Protection

  • Streamlines federal student loan repayment to two options: (1) a standard, 10-year mortgage-style repayment plan; or (2) an income-based repayment plan dependent on the borrower’s annual income
  • Suspension of negative consumer credit reporting in declared national disasters, including COVID-19
  • Moratorium on consumer debt collection with specified consumer repayment options when payments resume
  • $200 billion in hazard pay to essential workers
  • Expands new COVID-19 paid leave policies to all employers & extends temporary provisions until December 2021
  • Extends suspended interest/payments for most federal student loans through 9/30/2021 & cancels up to $10,000 in debt for some federal & private loans

Domestic Manufacturing

  • The “Restoring Critical Supply Chains and Intellectual Property Act” helps facilitate the availability, development, and production or domestic resources to meet national PPE and material needs.
  • The “United States Manufacturing Availability of Domestic Equipment Act” (U.S. MADE Act) provides investment credits for PPE manufacturers
  • The “Safeguarding American Innovation Act” establishes a Federal Research Security Council that will establish a strategic plan to protect the national and economic security interests of the United States
  • The “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act” (CHIPS for America Act) creates semiconductor incentive grants and will advance semiconductor research and design.


  • Requires the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to hold a symposium to discuss recommendations to encourage domestic manufacturing of certain drugs

Health Care Provisions

  • Relaxes the terms of loans from Medicare
  • Ensures that Medicare telehealth options don’t expire before Congress can determine what should be made permanent
  • Extends for five years the CARES Act provision that pays clinics and health centers for telehealth in order to meet the health care needs in rural America
  • Freezes Medicare premiums at 2020 levels to head off a predicted spike next year
  • Emergency support for nursing homes
  • Further increases Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) by an additional 14 % for the period of 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021
  • Provides increased funding for Home and Community Based Services through Medicaid
  • Temporarily increases Medicaid allotments for disproportionate share hospitals by 2.5%
  • Provides $25 million to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in both the Medicaid and Medicare programs

Renter/Homeowner Provisions

  • $75 billion homeowner assistance fund
  • $100 billion rental assistance program
  • 12 month eviction & 6 month foreclosure moratorium
  • Modifies CARES Act forbearance requirements & specifies loan modifications & loss mitigation available to homeowners
  • Establishes a mortgage servicer liquidity facility

Retirement Provisions

  • Relief for multiemployer pension plans
  • Relief for single employer pension plans

Select Appropriations Provisions

  • $25 billion for hospitals/providers
  • $20 billion for vaccine-related measures
  • $29.4 billion for defense
  • $20 billion for farmers
  • $15 billion for child care
  • $1.5 billion for NASA
  • $150 million for FEMA
  • $1.222 billion in loan authority for USCIS
  • $1.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • $3.4 billion to the CDC to support federal, state, and local public health agencies
  • $15.5 billion to the NIH
  • $4.5 billion to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • $16.7 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children
  • $78.1 billion for Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including:
  • $25 billion for Provider Relief Fund
  • $16 billion for testing and contact tracing
  • $6 billion for vaccine distribution
  • $2 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile
  • $105 billion to the Department of Education to help get all students back to school including:
  • $5 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund
  • $70 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
  • 1/3 going to all K-12 schools regardless of their plans next year
  • 2/3 directed at K-12 schools with a physical reopening plan that is approved by the governor
  • $29 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • $4.01 billion to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • $10.151 billion for transportation, including:
  • $75 million to Essential Air Service (EAS)
  • $50 million to FAA operations
  • $10 billion to Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
  • $2.2 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
  • $1 billion for Public Housing Operating Fund
  • $100 billion for hospitals/providers
  • $3.5 billion for vaccine-related measures
  • Marginal funding for defense
  • $100 million for farmers
  • Democrats are currently updating their child care funding
  • $1.3 billion to FEMA
  • $10 billion for SNAP
  • $600 million in Pandemic Justice Response Act Grants
  • $2.1 billion to the CDC to support federal, state, and local public health agencies
  • $4.745 billion to the NIH
  • $3 billion to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • $10.1 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children
  • $175 billion for Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including:
  • $100 billion in grants for hospitals and health care providers
  • $75 billion for testing, contact tracing, etc.
  • $10 billion in grants to small businesses
  • $1 billion to CDFIs
  • $1.5 billion for increased broadband $100.15 billion to Department of Education, including:
  • $90 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
  • $10.15 billion for colleges
  • $2 billion to support worker training
  • $925 million to assist states in processing unemployment insurance claims
  • $7.6 billion to support expanded health care services for underserved populations
  • $25 billion for Postal Service
  • $3.6 billion for grants to States for planning and preparing for elections
  • $31 billion for transportation (no funding for airports, but provides Airport & Airway Trust Fund relief), including:
  • $75 million for FAA operations
  • $15 billion for highways
  • $15.75 billion for transit emergency relief
  • $4 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
  • $2 billion for Public Housing Operating Fund
  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grant
  • $100 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance
  • $11.5 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants

Tax Provisions

  • Mobile Workforce legislation to standardize state tax liability for work travel, and a temporary solution for state tax withholding rules for large employers with remote workers
  • Refundable payroll tax credit for employer purchasing testing, PPE & certain other safety supplies
  • Expanded Employee Refundable Tax Credit for employers with significant decrease in receipts
  • Elimination of the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) cap for 2020 and 2021 tax years
  • Expansion of the employee retention tax credit (ERTC)
  • Changes to the net operating loss (NOL) provisions

Additional Provisions

  • The “Supporting America’s Restaurant Workers Act” provides an increase business meal reduction from 50% to 100%
  • The “Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts Act” (Trust Act of 2020) would create a process to provide economic relief to each of the major endangered trust funds, such as the Highway Trust Fund, Social Security Old-Age & Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, and Medicare Part A.
  • Subsidizes 100% of COBRA premiums for workers who would otherwise lose job-based coverage due to loss of employment or reduction in hours worked
  • Includes the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which requires the president to use all available authorities under the Defense Production Act to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic