Broadway representatives applauded the most recent iteration of a new round of coronavirus stimulus from the government, at least as the democratically-controled House of Representatives has framed it. The Heroes Act introduced this week included $10 billion in grant money – known as the “Save Our Stages Act” designed to help arts and performance organizations survive the pandemic.
Overall, the Heroes Act carries with it a $2.2 trillion price tag. This is more than a billion less than the last stimulus proposal put forth by the House, yet far higher than the republican-led Senate has indicated a willingness to consider.
Introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn, Save Our Stages involves venues impacted by coronavirus-related closures to apply for funding to pay for up to 45 percent of their operating costs, capped at $12 million. Funds could be applied to rent, utilities, payments to contractors, administrative costs, and other costs. It has been in talks since July, but has been one of the many programs in limbo as the dueling parties fight over the size of any new economic stimulus with an election looming.
Just last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was among those calling for save Our Stages to be passed, attending a press conference in New York touting the need for funding to keep the city’s arts organizations around on the other side of the pandemic.
“It is vitally important to acknowledge the disparate impact this pandemic has had on artists and artisans and recognize the need to extend unemployment benefits,” director-performer Schele Williams said during the event last week. “We need Broadway to bring us all back together again. It will require a tremendous effort for theatres to restart, and it will take longer than we would all hope. That is why now, we need the government to support S.O.S.”
The updated Heroes act may be voted upon by the House as early as Wednesday evening, though it is unlikely to pass without further negotiation with republican leadership.