As Republicans continued to haggle over how to cobble together a Senate version of the next pandemic economic stimulus bill Thursday, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) defended the Democratic House version of the measure, known as the HEROES Act.
“Despite the vast ongoing harm to families and small businesses across the nation, and the urgent need for relief, the Senate has done nothing to advance the Heroes Act, or any other significant coronavirus response legislation,” Waters said, as she opened a committee hearing on the bill.
Committee ranking Republican Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) had criticized Democrats for holding a hearing on legislation that already passed the House. He continued that criticism at Thursday’s hearing.
“This hearing is a waste of time,” he said, adding that “Americans don’t want petty partisanship; they don’t want political gamesmanship.”
The House-passed measure is a $3 trillion, 1,800-page bill that includes about $1 trillion in aid to states and local government, as well as extended unemployment benefits and additional stimulus payments to taxpayers. It also would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions providing services to marijuana-related business. The measure asks for additional funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions program.
Waters said the House-passed bill would include an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and other much-needed assistance.
“The Heroes Act extends the PPP through December and includes carve outs to ensure the smallest businesses receive funding, provides $1 billion to the CDFI Fund, and expands the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program, to provide a lifeline during the crisis,” she said. On the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had said he wanted to release the GOP version of the next stimulus bill on Thursday, but as of late Thursday afternoon negotiations were continuing on such issues as how to structure any extended unemployment benefits that might be included in the measure.