The U.S. House of Representatives may pass a revised version of the HEROES Act as soon as today, with modified language extending the census reporting deadlines for the 2020 Census and additional funding.
The House passed the original bill in May (see The Census Project’s May 2020 Update).
The new legislation tacks on another $10 million of emergency funding, for the Census Bureau’s Working Capital Fund in the Current Surveys and Programs account. This comes in addition to the $400 million from the original for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and related delays and disruptions. The bill designates the new addition “for necessary expenses incurred as a result of the coronavirus, including for payment of salaries and leave to Bureau of the Census staff resulting from the suspension of data collection for reimbursable surveys conducted for other Federal agencies:”
It also removes the prior legislative language to extend the census data reporting deadlines and replaces it with the language from the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extension Act (H.R. 8250), including the requirement that “the Census may not conclude the Nonresponse Followup operation or the Self-Response operation before October 31, 2020.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has referred to the revised HEROES Act as a $2.2 trillion compromise to move toward a final coronavirus relief bill with the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it contains “poison pills” and that the Senate will not consider it.