With the passage of the CARES Act and other supplemental funding to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress is spending this summer focused on another economic stimulus legislative package, commonly referred to as Phase 4. On May 15, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, The HEROES Act, on a party line vote of 208-199, with all but 14 Democrats voting for the bill. The HEROES Act is the next round of economic stimulus funding, including additional healthcare assistance, money for frontline workers and first responders, and state and local government aid. The HEROES Act focuses on retaining capacity at Job Corps centers, supporting activities for the centers to safely operate during COVID-19, and providing additional programmatic flexibilities for the program. NJCA worked with House Democratic leaders to include assistance for the Job Corps community in the House bill and will work with Senate leadership to pursue similar policies and legislative flexibilities in the upper chamber.
At this time, the Senate will not consider the House-passed HEROES Act, opting instead to craft its own package. It is anticipated the Senate economic stimulus package will be narrower in scope than the HEROES Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated his policy priorities for the next economic stimulus bill be carefully targeted to correcting mistakes made in the CARES Act, and it include liability protections for employers. It is likely the Senate will not consider another economic stimulus bill before late July. Leader McConnell told senators that he believes the three-week work period after the Fourth of July congressional recess (July 20-August 7, 2020) is the most likely time the Senate will consider another COVID-19 economic stimulus bill.
As Congress considers additional plans to stimulate our country’s economy, NJCA has made clear to congressional leaders that investments in Job Corps can simultaneously meet the needs of young Americans while assisting in the economic recovery of communities nationwide. NJCA continues to actively work with congressional Job Corps champions during this crisis, educating them about the important steps the Job Corps community is taking to keep students and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to a virtual learning environment and other relevant developments and issues.