Introduced on May 12 by New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the HEROES Act had 11 co-sponsors representing the additional states of Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia and provides a broad assortment of new and renewed assistance targeted to essential workers, first responders, minority-owned and other small businesses, students, the homeless and others.
Consumers would not be subjected to negative credit reporting and debt collection, while the Federal Reserve would be required to make low-cost, deferrable loans to small businesses, nonprofits, and public universities.
“The HEROES Act focuses on real people because consumers drive our economy and we can’t just leave American families to trickle-down help from businesses,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).
“By prohibiting the government from incarcerating people for nonpayment of debts, restricting the use of money bail to detain poor people who have not been convicted of a crime, and incentivizing state and local governments to suspend imposition and collection of fines and fees during the crisis, the HEROES Act protects people from being imprisoned or trapped in the broken criminal justice system merely because they are unable to afford a debt or a fine.”
“The HEROES Act shows strong promise and addresses important needs of low-wealth families impacted by COVID-19, such as mortgage and forbearance relief, extended unemployment benefits, food assistance, and protections against harmful debt collection activities and negative credit reporting”, said Ashley Harrington, CRL’s Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel.