May 13, 2020

U.S. House-Proposed HEROES Act Assists Clean Water Utilities

The most recent coronavirus stimulus package assists water utilities and ratepayers 


The House of Representatives introduced a new stimulus bill, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or the "HEROES Act," as a measure to assist against the repercussions of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

This $3 trillion proposal is the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history, exceeding the cost of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, reported Forbes Magazine. The House will meet on Friday to vote on the bill.

The proposal includes $1.5 billion in funding for water ratepayer assistance as a means to help households in need pay water and sewer service bills, according to NACWA. $375 billion is to be distributed to municipalities to cover revenue issues as a result of the pandemic, which should assist many clean water agencies.

“NACWA applauds the House for proposing legislation that better positions public clean water agencies to continue providing essential services to families and households that rely on them during this challenging time,” said NACWA CEO Adam Krantz in a statement. “Clean water is critical to controlling COVID-19 and this legislation is a clear sign that Congress recognizes the essential nature of the services that clean water utilities provide.” 

Clean water agencies are estimated to incur billions of dollars in revenue losses as a result of the pandemic, according to NACWA. 

The HEROES Act would provide: funding for a wide range of groups; a new stimulus check; funding for state and local governments; hazard pay for essential workers; funding for coronavirus testing; and rent and mortgage assistance.

There will be additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, small businesses, emergency relief for the U.S. Postal Service, and provisions for election safety and facilitating voting by mail as well, according to NACWA. 

"We have a big need. It's monumental. And therefore, it's a great opportunity to say: let's work together to get this done. There's a way to open the economy based on science, testing, testing, testing and let's get on with it. That's what we're here to do," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview with MSNBC.

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