The HEROES Act Will Prevent Americans From Getting Back to Work | Citizens Against Government Waste

The HEROES Act Will Prevent Americans From Getting Back to Work

The WasteWatcher

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act epitomizes everything that is wrong with the D.C. borrow-and-spend and then borrow-and-spend some more mindset.  The total expenditures surpassed the $2.8 trillion total of the prior three emergency spending bills.

The largest of those three bills was the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which contained short-term measures to keep the economy from collapsing while the government told people to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.  While the CARES Act included wasteful spending unrelated to the pandemic, it did provide mostly temporary relief for an extraordinary time.  But the HEROES Act is a boundless and often permanent expansion of the federal government’s size, scope, and power, reaching into all aspects of American life.

One of the temporary provisions of the CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits to provide unemployed workers, in addition to regular unemployment benefits, with an additional $600 per week through June 30, 2020.  As noted by several Republican senators at the time, this provision is fundamentally flawed because it allows individuals to earn more money on unemployment than in the workforce.  Under the HEROES Act, these beefed-up benefits would extend through January 31,2021, regardless of economic conditions.

As states begin opening back up, misguided government policies must not impede the nation’s economic recovery.  If the additional unemployment benefit is extended, workers will be disincentivized to go back to work since 63 percent of American workers would receive more in unemployment than they would by going back to work.  If the HEROES Act is enacted, it would keep millions of Americans away from the job market and unnecessarily prolong the economic recovery. In addition to preventing an extension of overly generous unemployment benefits, Congress should also ensure that employers are protected from frivolous lawsuits. 

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 12, 2020, business leaders pleaded for protection from litigation as they begin to reopen their doors to the public.  Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Convenience Stores, Kwik Check CEO Kevin Smartt summed up the needs of businesses when he said, “No one is asking Congress to protect employers who willfully ignored the risks of COVID-19 and committed gross negligence by not adhering to the recommended health and safety guidance. Those bad actors should be subject to litigation.  What I am asking for is merely to protect those companies that are doing the best they can to mitigate COVID-19’s spread.”  Congress should empower businesses to reopen with confidence by temporarily shielding them from unfair legal attacks.

America’s economic engine will be stalled if the HEROES Act is enacted with its massive increases in spending and disincentives to return to work.  America’s comeback will be driven by private industry if the government gets out the way.  Congress must facilitate the recovery with pro-business policies, or there will be more misery and a feeble recovery.

 -- Jack Fencl

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