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The Congressional Black Caucus Coronavirus Response Priorities for Heroes Act

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Washington, May 12, 2020 | comments
As the House introduces The Heroes Act to provide much-needed federal resources to our nation, the CBC worked closely with leadership to develop legislation that responded to the urgent needs of Black America, who have been hit the hardest by coronavirus. The Congressional Black Caucus is calling for targeted comprehensive intervention through city, county, or state government public health agencies in communities where there is a disproportionate infection and death rates. This will include rapid results testing, early treatment and intervention and contact tracing. Contract tracers should be hired and trained from the community.

The twelve-page proposal, which was submitted to House and Senate leadership on April 29th, outlines a comprehensive immediate response and long-term recovery plan for emergency responders, front line workers, seniors, teachers, business owners, students, families, and state and local governments. The proposal includes policies to safeguard social safety net benefits, keep Black businesses afloat, support students and educational institutions, address health care inequities, strengthen infrastructure in the Black community, protect Black farmers, keep people in their homes, ensure incarcerated individuals are protected and much more.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in America, the Congressional Black Caucus has led the way in calling for legislation to support Black communities through this pandemic. On March 20th, the CBC submitted an initial 11-page proposal to House and Senate leadership with recommendations on legislation needed to support Black America. Through the collective efforts of CBC Members, the CARES Act included legislation from the CBC proposal including: an increased amount of direct payment assistance for people struggling to make ends meet, from $600 in the original bill introduced by Senate Republicans to $1200 in the final bipartisan agreement; an additional $500 child tax credit per child; a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions; and $447 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), among other priorities included.

Additionally, in a subsequent measure to replenish small business funding in the CARES Act, the CBC helped secure $25 billion in funding for targeted testing. This legislation also included a requirement that the Centers for Disease Control release a report including racial demographics of individuals impacted by Covid-19 by Friday, May 15th.

The Congressional Black Caucus has been fully committed and engaged at the highest level in Congress and the Administration in developing impactful legislation to respond to the growing needs of Black America during this crisis. 

Despite the series of economic relief that has been passed, we know that there is still much more needed to strengthen our communities and ease the impact of the pandemic thus far. The new proposal goes beyond the immediate issues and incorporates a long-term response to ensure the full recovery of Black America when this is over.

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