LAS VEGAS (March 16, 2021)—President Joe Biden is set to visit a small business in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday, his initial trip outside Washington for the “Help is here” tour that got underway Monday. Vice President Kamala Harris dropped in on a COVID-19 vaccination site and a culinary academy in Las Vegas while first lady Jill Biden toured a New Jersey elementary school.
“We want to avoid a situation where people are unaware of what they’re entitled to,” Harris said at the culinary academy. “It’s not selling it; it literally is letting people know their rights. Think of it more as a public education campaign.”
The White House efforts to promote the $1.9 trillion relief plan, which Biden signed into law last week, is looking to build momentum for the rest of his agenda and anxious to avoid the mistakes of 2009 in boosting that year’s recovery effort. Although, according to reports the $1400 check will not pull 85% of the citizens out of poverty, but rather a small 20%.
“Hope is here in real and tangible ways,” Biden said Monday at the White House. He said the new government spending will bankroll efforts that could allow the nation to emerge from the pandemic’s twin crises, health and economic.
But the White House has not released any data that indicates how the American Rescue Plan will rescue eviction and foreclosures.
After beginning the sales campaign with high-profile speeches, Biden will head to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and then join Harris in Georgia on Friday. Others on his team are visiting the electorally important states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and New Hampshire. The trip Monday marked Harris’ first official journey in office and included an unscheduled stop at a vegan taco stand as well as a coffee stand at the Culinary Academy Las Vegas. The VP was accompanied by husband, Doug Emhoff.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg went first, touring a loca UPS distribution center in Landover, Maryland, on Monday that also delivers vaccines in the Washington area.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We want to take some time to engage directly with the American people and make sure they understand the benefits of the package and how it is going to help them get through this difficult period of time.”
The White House’s weekly theme — focus on small businesses, schools, home evictions and direct checks to most Americans. First Lady Jill Biden was joined by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on a tour Monday of Samuel Smith Elementary School in Burlington, where she highlighted steps the school took to reopen.
But her tour revealed the challenges ahead: In one classroom she visited, only two students were in attendance for in-person learning while the other 17 were virtual. The first lady sat down at a computer to say hello to the remote learners.
“I just I love being here at a school again: Educators, parents and students, the entire school has come together to bring kids back to the classroom,” she said. “But even with your best efforts, students can’t come, they can’t come in every day, which means that their parents are still having to take time off of work, or figure out childcare solutions. And this school like schools across this country can’t fully reopen without help.”
The plan’s key features include direct payments of $1,400 for most single taxpayers, or $2,800 for married couples filing jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent — a total of $5,600 for a married couple with two children. The payments phase out for people with higher incomes.
An extension of federal unemployment benefits will continue through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. There’s $350 billion for state, local and tribal governments, $130 billion for K-12 schools and about $50 billion to expand COVID-19 testing, among other provisions.
Source: Bee News Daily and AP News contributed to article.
Photo: President Biden stopped by W.S. Jenks & Son — a historic hardware store in the City of Washington, D.C. March 13, 2021.