May 14, 2020

In Response to HEROES Act, 350 Action Unveils Key Demands to Prioritize People Over Polluters

(Washington D.C.) On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the fifth proposed stimulus and relief package related to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, known as the  Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, is a $3 trillion proposal to be voted on by the House this Friday. The proposal includes some elements of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights, including healthcare and economic protections for essential workers regardless of immigration status, resources for hospitals, funding for COVID-19 testing and treatment, protection to renters and homeowners, $25 billion in support for the U.S. Postal Service, extension of unemployment benefits, and more direct payments, which we applaud and support. However, the draft bill does not contain protections to prevent fossil fuel companies from accessing this money. It also does not include key provisions of the ReWIND Act, legislation introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA-44), to prevent oil corporations from exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for financial gain.

In response, 350 Action Associate Policy Director Natalie Mebane made the following statement: 

“The HEROES Act is closer to the kind of legislation we need to support working people and we are glad to see key pieces of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights within the proposal. That said, the bill does not go far enough to protect against bailouts of the oil and gas industry. We know it is possible for House leadership to stand with the millions impacted by COVID-19 without providing lifelines and loopholes for fossil fuel billionaires to make a profit. To make the relief package air tight, we urge Pelosi and the House to incorporate the ReWIND Act to prevent oil, gas, and coal companies from gaining access to stimulus money. These legislative protections are critical to ensuring that our communities both get the urgent, immediate support necessary to recover from this pandemic and that they are protected from future crises and climate catastrophe at the hands of the fossil fuel industry. 

“To bolster the HEROES Act and future COVID-19 stimulus efforts, 350 Action has put forth seven key policy priorities to strengthen legislation that protects workers while banning the use of bailout funds for the fossil fuel industry and other polluters, ensuring investments in a Green New Deal, and prioritizing climate-resilient just recovery. This platform is the blueprint that can guide Congress to creating bold legislation that puts people at the heart of our recovery and resilience.”

To read 350 Action’s stimulus demands, click HERE.