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Washington Report – May 22, 2020

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: May 22, 2020

The House passed the Democrats’ next COVID-19 stimulus proposal, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, H.R. 6800, on May 15 by a vote of 208-199. Congressman Peter King (R-NY) was the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill, which the President threatened to veto and Senate Republicans do not support. This bill is the Democrats’ starting point for negotiations on the next phase of coronavirus relief and they hope with its passage, it will pressure Republicans and the White House to come to the table to move the next round of aid quickly; Several NAPO priorities in the HEROES Act have broad bipartisan support, including the establishment of a presumption under PSOB that all COVID-19 related death and disability claims are in the line of duty and additional resources to help cover COVID-19 related sick and administrative leave, overtime costs and hazard pay. The biggest hurdles will be maintaining the two-year elimination of the SALT deduction cap and the restriction-free direct funding to state and local governments to offset revenue and budget holes due to the pandemic, but there is growing bipartisan support for the latter in both the House and Senate; Until we are able to secure additional funding, it is important to note that the $850 million appropriated through the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund (CESF) can be used to reimburse for the costs of PPE, overtime, additional COVID-related sick leave and hazard pay. It can also be used for hiring and rehiring officers. The FEMA Disaster Assistance Fund and the FEMA Public Assistance Program can be used to cover some of these costs as well; The Senate passed three of NAPO’s priority bills by unanimous consent in honor of National Police Week: Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act (S. 3607), which would establish a presumption under the PSOB Program that an officer’s death or disability due to contracting COVID-19 is in the line of duty. The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act would require the Department of Justice to establish a program to collect data on law enforcement and former law enforcement suicides at the local, State, and Federal level. The COPS Counseling Act would implement confidentiality standards for federal law enforcement peer support counseling programs and direct the U.S. Attorney General to report on best practices and professional standards for state and local peer support counseling programs; The COPS Office just released their 2019 report Law Enforcement Officers Shot in the Line of Duty: 2019 Year-End Summary.

Please click on the links below for the full May 22, 2020 Washington Report and related links.

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