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Pallone Floor Remarks on The Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release
“The Heroes Act lays the foundation we will need to help safely reopen the economy.”

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I rise today in strong support of The Heroes Act.

Our top priority is the health and safety of the American people and The Heroes Act lays the foundation we will need to help safely reopen the economy.  And contrary to my Republican colleagues, this legislation is directly related to the pandemic.

Our legislation builds out national testing and contact tracing by finally requiring the Administration to develop comprehensive plans, with clear benchmarks and timelines.  We also mandate a national czar and supply chain to guarantee that medical supplies, testing equipment and drugs and ultimately vaccines are available to all Americans.   

The bill also provides states with additional increases for their Medicaid programs to ensure that Americans don’t lose their health insurance.

It also ensures that all COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are free of cost-sharing for patients as we did with previous legislation for testing.

The Heroes Act protects vulnerable patients in nursing homes by providing funding for states to establish and deploy strike teams, manage outbreaks and assist with clinical care, infection control and staffing.

This legislation also helps families stay connected and ensures that they do not lose critical utility services.  It prevents home energy and water service shutoffs and establishes a new program to provide water bill assistance for low-income households.

We also prohibit telephone and broadband service providers from stopping service and provide bill assistance to low-income families and those who have lost their jobs.  The Heroes Act also provides funding to schools and libraries to purchase hotspots, connected devices and other equipment. 

And finally, we go after price gougers by providing the Federal Trade Commission and State attorneys general the authority to seek civil penalties from those engaging in price gouging of goods and services.

The Heroes Act is a bold next step in our process of protecting the American people, providing critical assistance during this crisis and it’s designed to end this pandemic ultimately. It deserves strong, bipartisan support.   

I yield back.

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