Press Releases

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted in favor of the Updated Heroes Act, House Democrats’ latest legislation to address the ongoing needs that have resulted from the COVID-19 public health crisis. This bill reflects current negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, as well as needs that have risen since the original Heroes Act passed the House of Representatives in May 2020.

“It is unfortunate that the White House and Senate Republicans have not been willing to compromise to provide additional money for ongoing relief to our communities, workers, and families,” Sewell said. “With passage of the Updated Heroes Act today, House Democrats’ have given the White House and Senate Republicans one more chance to pass another stimulus bill that will continue to provide critical relief for the American people.” 

“The provisions in the Updated Heroes Act are essential to avert greater economic and health catastrophe for families, schools, small businesses, essential workers, and health care providers in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District,” Sewell continued. “Not only does this legislation deliver much-needed resources to Alabama counties and cities, it also reflects House Democrats’ willingness to compromise in good faith to ensure our country can weather this ongoing crisis.”  

The Updated Heroes Act would provide counties and cities in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District with $396 million in funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our health care workers, library staff, law enforcement, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. A town-by-town breakdown of the estimated funding allocations for the 7th District under the Updated Heroes Act is available here.

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Updated Heroes Act maintains key priorities from the original version of the legislation that passed the House in May. The bill also provides families with a second round of direct payments of $1,200 for each individual and $500 for each dependent, and extends weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021. 

Among the bill’s many provisions, it:

  • Provides strong support for small businesses by improving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits, providing hard-hit businesses with second loans, and delivering targeted assistance for the struggling restaurant industry and independent live venue operators.

  • More funds to bolster education and child care, with $225 billion for education – including $182 billion for K12 schools and nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education – and $57 billion to support child care for families.

  • Supports testing, tracing and treatment, through $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, with special attention to the disparities facing communities of color, ensuring every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and supporting hospitals and providers. The updated bill also includes $28 billion for procurement, distribution and education campaigns for a safe and effective vaccine.

  • Protects payrolls, by enhancing the new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll.

  • Preserves health coverage, protecting Americans losing their employer-provided health insurance by making unemployed Americans automatically receive the maximum ACA subsidy on the exchanges, as well as a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for uninsured Americans.

  • Strengthens food security, addressing rising hunger with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table as well as targeted support for farmers and producers impacted by the crisis.

  • Safeguards our democracy, with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.