HEROES Act would impact Rhode Islanders

More than $5.3 billion of the $3 trillion bill is designated for Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Dr. Patricia Russo-Magno specializes in lung health and has seen tremendous dedication in the ICU at Kent Hospital.

“Really giving it a hundred percent in terms of staying late, doing whatever needs to be done,” she said.

Dr. Russo-Magno says staff have the right PPE to feel safe, but that there’s room to provide more support for more workers.

“Nurses, respiratory therapists, cleaning staff, anyone who’s at risk,” she said. “That would be great.”

Members of Congress say that’s why the HEROES Act includes hazard pay for essential workers.

“This would provide an additional $13 an hour for those front line workers that are doing such critically important work right now” said Rep. Jim Langevin, (D) Rhode Island – 2nd District. “They deserve, they need that support.”

There’s also support for struggling hospitals.

“They’re hermorrhaging money right now, and need additional assistance to get through this coronavirus crisis,” the congressman said.

In addition, the bill provides money for expanded testing, grants for small businesses, and direct payments to Americans of up to $6,000 per family.

Langevin says there’s even potential for state government to address its 800 million dollar budget deficit.

The legislation faces steep opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken out against certain provisions, like one providing some assistance to immigrants in the US illegally and another making it easier to vote by mail.

But Langevin is still optimistic this will lead to negotiations and ultimately relief for Americans at risk of losing so much.

“That’s why Congress needs to act,” the congressman said.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island