1. Update
  2. Criminal Justice, Economic Justice, Immigrants & Refugees, Native Americans, Peacebuilding, U.S. Wars & Militarism, Voting & Elections

How Does the Heroes Act Align with FCNL's Priorities?

By Amelia Kegan, Diana Ohlbaum, May 15, 2020


The House passed the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), a comprehensive bill to further address the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout. FCNL has been lobbying Congress to include many policy provisions in the next COVID-19 bill.

The Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) includes most of them: increased nutrition assistance, extended unemployment assistance, aid for states, and assistance for immigrants, incarcerated individuals, and tribes. Importantly, it includes no additional Pentagon funding or subsidies to military contractors.

FCNL strongly supports the Heroes Act and urges all members of the Senate to vote in favor of it – and to vote quickly.

Below is an analysis of which of FCNL’s asks were included and which were left out. FCNL will continue to advocate for a strong congressional response as negotiations continue.

U.S. Capitol Building

Economic Security | Support Immigrants | Support Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals | Support Tribes and Native Americans | Ensure Free and Fair Elections | Promote a Robust Global Response | Reject Additional Pentagon Funding

Economic Security for All Families and Individuals

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

Increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
Provide aid for states
The Heroes Act provides significant state aid, although in a slightly different form and amount than described in our ask.
Extend unemployment assistance
The extensions run through January 31, 2021 in the Heroes Act.
Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Provide additional support for homelessness assistance programs, USDA rural low-income housing development programs, and emergency rental assistance for those in the greatest need.
Provide recurring stimulus checks
The Heroes Act includes another round of stimulus checks. They are larger and available to ITIN filers, but they are not recurring.

Support Immigrants

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

Ensure access to testing and treatment for all individuals, regardless of status
Allow taxpayers using an ITIN to claim stimulus checks
Halt the implementation of the new public charge rules

Support Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

Provide more funding for prison hospitals and infirmaries
The Heroes Act provides $200 million for the Bureau of Prisons, but it is not specifically earmarked for prison hospitals and infirmaries.
Ensure incarcerated individuals can access Medicaid immediately upon release by allowing them to apply for Medicaid 30 days prior to their release
Encourage increased release of incarcerated people over the age of 50, those within 18 months of their scheduled release, those with compromised immune systems, and those with respiratory conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19
X Eliminate ban on the Small Business Administration loan application that excludes formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing the Payment Protection Program
X Lift the bans on housing assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Support Tribes and Native Americans

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

TBD Ensure maximum flexibility for disbursement and implementation of Indian Country funds for addressing COVID-19
Likely won’t be able to know until tribal consultations take place.
Include supplemental funding for victim services programs implemented by the Department of Justice (DOJ), many of which are authorized in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including a set-aside for tribal governments
X Provide an additional $100 million Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) set-aside for tribal governments
The Heroes Act provides a 10% tribal set-aside, resulting in $5 million for tribal nations included
X Provide $1 million to be split evenly between the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.

Ensure Free and Fair Elections

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

Provide $3.6 billion for the Election Assistance Commission to support states and localities to conduct safe elections

Promote a Robust Global Response

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

X Provide no less than $12 billion for international aid and diplomacy
X Remove impediments to the flow of food, medicine, and lifesaving equipment
X Authorize debt relief and multilateral lending measures for developing countries in order to bolster health services and mitigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus

Reject Additional Pentagon Funding

In Heroes Act:

FCNL Priorities:

Don’t use the crisis as an excuse to give more subsidies to military contractors

To view an expanded version of this document with additional context on our priorities, click here.

Background Responding to the Coronavirus 

The coronavirus pandemic is a generational threat, and its impacts will be felt by all of us. But know this: Our work for peace and justice will go on. Here’s how we will continue our advocacy in the face of COVID-19 and how you can join us.

Amelia Kegan

  • Legislative Director, Domestic Policy

Amelia Kegan leads the domestic policy team's work in analyzing legislation, advocating on Capitol Hill, and developing legislative strategy. Prior to coming to FCNL, Amelia worked at a variety of other national non-profits in D.C. and Chicago, focusing on federal budget, tax, and low-income policy.

Diana Ohlbaum

  • Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.