The HEROES Act Languished For 20 Weeks. Updated Stimulus May Face Same Fate

The Democrats' original HEROES Act passed the House 20 weeks ago but languished in the Senate due to GOP opposition.

An updated version of the bill, the HEROES Act 2.0, was passed by the House on Thursday—and given the comments of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) it looks set to face pushback in the upper chamber of Congress once again.

Earlier in the week, McConnell branded the plans outlandish, suggesting the amount of spending proposed by Democrats was still too high.

This is despite the updated bill having a price tag of around $2.2 trillion, compared with the original $3.4 trillion.

Speaking prior to the vote in the House he said there was still a gulf in stance between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and suggested the proposals were not serious.

Despite this, and ongoing talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in hopes of a reaching a bipartisan agreement, Democrats in the lower chamber pushed on for a vote. The act was narrowly passed with a 214-207 vote.

The passage could be seen as a means for the act to be pushed between the two chambers, a suggestion lawmakers have expressed openness to. This might see it sent back with amendments, then a back and forth allowing members throughout Congress to have an input, as opposed to figureheads deciding upon something to be then voted through as is.

While 20 weeks have gone by since the HEROES Act was passed in the House, it has also been more than six months since the CARES Act was signed by the president.

Pelosi, speaking on the floor in support of the updated HEROES Act Thursday, said that the bill "goes a long way to doing what we need to do." She said, "It's long overdue."

There has long been a stalemate over what relief to provide amid the economic turmoil posed by the coronavirus crisis.

After the HEROES Act passed in May, McConnell suggested there was need for a pause—which was criticized by Pelosi.

There has since been bipartisan agreement some form of further relief is needed, but disagreement on in what form that should be. Spending has been a major point of contention.

Points such as the amounts paid in enhanced unemployment benefits and provisions such as liability protections have also caused disagreement.

A point which has garnered widespread bipartisan support has been a further round of stimulus checks, which the HEROES Act 2.0 includes.

Newsweek has contacted McConnell, Pelosi and the White House for comment on the passage of the updated HEROES Act in the House and the situation with stimulus generally.

mitch mcconnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves his office and walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on September 23, 2020. He has previously criticized the Democrats' stimulus plans. Drew Angerer/Getty Images