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Michigan congressman calls for federal tax holiday for health care staff, first responders

Healthcare workers prepare their supplies at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in West Bloomfield, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

WASHINGTON (SBG)-- A new bill introduced by Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga Friday morning would treat essential health care workers and first responders like combat soldiers by giving them a federal tax holiday.

The HEROES Act, which stands for "helping our emergency responders overcome emergency situations," aims to ease the financial burden put on those putting themselves in harm's way to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The idea is to say thank-you to those first responders, those technicians, EMTs, police officers, the firefighters that are going in on the front lines and then certainly in our medical facilities," Huizenga said. "You know those physicians assistants and nurses and doctors that are working directly with patients, but also those that are cleaning the hospitals rooms and that are cleaning the operating rooms and that are cleaning the equipment.”

According to a release, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, hospital and licensed medical facility support staff, and senior care facility staff would be eligible for the tax break.

Huizenga said in a recent telephone town hall with his constituents in western Michigan, a retired nurse expressed willingness to get back to work.

"She said, ‘I want to go volunteer,'" Huizenga said. “How do we reward those folks who are setting aside their normal life to come out and help right now and not make it a financial penalty?"

"That’s the kind of ‘go-get-em’ attitude that we have here in the United States," Huizenga said. "I just want to try to lessen the burden for those folks that are making that decision.”

Huizenga said his aim is to make the tax break last four months but the legislation also provides the secretary of the treasury with the ability to extend the tax holiday for an additional three months.

To qualify, the worker would have to have an active COVID-19 case in their county or facility.