House Democrats Pass Revised HEROES Act as White House Negotiations Continue

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

In a near party-line vote, the House on Thursday passed 214-207 a revised version of their Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act — initially introduced in May — representing a scaled-down update to the original version in an effort to reach an elusive compromise with Republicans on additional coronavirus aid. 

Similar to the structure of the original HEROES Act, the revised bill sets aside $208 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, 13% of which (or $27 billion) must go to public institutions of higher education and will be distributed by governors. Another $11.9 billion will go directly to institutions, including $3.5 billion for Minority-Serving Institutions, $7 billion for private nonprofit institutions, and $1.4 billion for public and nonprofit institutions with unmet need, including those that operate entirely online.

“The American people cannot afford to wait until next year for action, so House Democrats are making good on our offer to compromise,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). “As negotiations continue, this updated version of The Heroes Act is a strong bill that meets the needs of the American people.”

The House is expected to be in session on Friday and might continue to remain in session next week while negotiations for another aid package between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue.

The talks between House Democrats and the White House come as Congress nears the end of its legislative session with each chamber preparing to adjourn for the presidential election. If a bipartisan, bicameral agreement is not reached then additional coronavirus aid may not be administered until after the November election and further debate will be heavily influenced by the election’s outcome.

NASFAA last week joined a coalition of higher education associations, led by the American Council on Education, in asking for $120 billion in additional funds for education in order to "partially mitigate the challenges that students and institutions are facing" as a result of the pandemic.

 

Publication Date: 10/2/2020


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