The Heroes Act is the largest COVID-19 relief package that has been passed by both chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the U.S. Congress.
What Actually Is The Heroes Act?
The HEROES Act is described as the one that vests the Secretary of Education with the expansive authority to alleviate the hardship that federal student loan recipients may suffer as a result of national emergencies or military operations.
The HEROES Act, or the H.R. 6800, is an acronym for the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act was proposed with 3 trillion US dollars as an aid to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The amount was a part of the stimulus package, a monetary policy that the federal government usually announces as an attempt to stimulate the economy, and was purposes to supplement the CARES Act stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed by the former President Donald Trump as a 2.2 trillion US dollars economic stimulus bill.
The bill was sponsored by Nita Lowey, the Democratic representative from New York on May 12, 2020. The bill was passed on May 15, 2020, for a vote that at 208 against 199 by the United States House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress.
Further, in December 2020, Congress decided on 900 billion US dollars as the stimulus package.
In order to the assistance to the debtors of the student loan at the federal level, the Act has provisions to provide financial aid at state, local, and tribal levels. It can also assist the territorial levels, that is the subnational administrative division under the U.S.
The Policies Under The HEROES Act And Estimated Fund Are:
|THE HEROES ACT POLICIES||ESTIMATED FUND|
|To Provide Student Loan Relief and Funding for Higher Education||191 billion US dollars|
|To Provide Aid to the State and Local Governments||1.13 trillion US dollars|
|To Increase Safety Net Spending||485 billion US dollars|
|To Provide Additional Rebates||435 billion US dollars|
|To Increase Health Care-Related Spending||382 billion US dollars|
|To Support Small Businesses and Employee Retention||290 billion US dollars|
|To Reduce Individual Taxes||290 billion US dollars|
|To Increase Housing-Related Spending||202 billion US dollars|
|To Establish Hazard Pay Fund for Essential Workers||190 billion US dollars|
|To Increase Communications-Related Spending||32 billion US dollars|
|To Provide Pension and Retirement Relief||48 billion US dollars|
|To Increase Agriculture Spending||31 billion US dollars|
|To Limit Business Loss Deductibility||-254 billion US dollars|
Does The HEROES Act Let Biden, The U.S. President To Forgive Student Loans?
No, the HEROES Act does not let the President of the United States of America to forgive student loans.
One of the higher education experts asked that if the student education loans were an emergency then why the President had to wait three years to provide the forgiveness. The expert further asked why the president had to present it in a political framework as fulfilling a campaign promise.
Joe Biden had earlier announced in the August of last year, 2022, that the federal government would forgive 10,000 US dollars in national student loans for borrowers who earn under 125,000 US dollars per year and for those couples who earn under 250,000 US dollars per year.
Biden had also made another announcement that substantial changes would be made to the already existing loan forgiveness programs.
The maximum forgiveness amount was announced to be raised to 20,000 US dollars for the beneficiaries of the Pell Grant, a federal government incentive for those students for whom financial assistance is essential to complete their undergraduate degree. The students should be pursuing their first bachelor’s program.
As per the initial reports from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, already existing loan forgiveness programs would levy an amount between 500 US dollars to 650 US dollars from the taxpayers of the nation.
Biden said that spending this huge of an amount could not be canceled without first getting approval from the U.S. Congress by invoking the HEROES Act.
The Act was instituted during the period of the 9/11 attacks by which the federal government can assist the soldiers of the war who were compelled to draw out of colleges and universities to take part in active duty, with student debt relief.
The President and his allies view that the COVID-19 pandemic which acquired the status of a national emergency in March 2020 and still has not ended should also be considered under the HEROES Act category of national emergencies.
George Miller a former U.S. representative, and the co-sponsor of the Heroes Act when it was inducted back in 2003, said that there was no question that the covid-19 pandemic was a national emergency within the meaning of the law. He added that the law specifically states that a national emergency would include any event that the President declares as a national emergency.
On the previous day, the Supreme Court of the nation had heard the arguments of the case that had made the judges restrict the 400 billion US dollars in student loan forgiveness program proposed by Biden. The forgiveness program was supposed to relieve each borrower of an amount of 20,000 US dollars.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker had earlier in 2021, stated that the President could only postpone or delay the student loan but he does not have the power to forgive it. Pelosi added that it would take an act from the U.S. Congress and just an executive order cannot carry out the student loan cancellation.