Biden pushes rescue plan: Shots in arms, money in pockets

By Lucia Leal.

Washington, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- President Joe Biden on Monday launched his campaign to promote the $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan promising to accelerate anti-Covid vaccination efforts and the distribution of economic relief to the public.

In a White House speech, Biden kicked off his “Help is Here” campaign, which starting on Tuesday will take him to several states to publicly explain how the stimulus package recently approved by Congress can improve their lives.

“Shots in arms and money in pockets, that’s important,” Biden said, adding that “The American Rescue Plan is already doing what it was designed to do, make a difference in people’s everyday lives, and we’re just getting started.”

Over the next 10 days, the president said, the country will attain two important objectives: administering 100 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines since Biden entered office on Jan. 20 and distributing “100 million checks” to Americans to help shore up the economy.

Since December, the US has already administered 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines with 92.6 million doses being provided since Biden entered office.

At the current vaccination rate, by the end of this week Biden will be able to say he fulfilled his “100 million doses in my first 100 days” promise and he will have done so more than a month before that 100-day period ends on April 30.

Biden said that his administration has to show Americans that it can provide much-needed aid without misspending or committing fraud and that it can vaccinate the nation and get children back to school safely.

He also fired something of a broadside at former President Donald Trump, saying in passing the CARES Act last year “Congress created a committee of inspectors general to (ensure) that money was spent as it was directed,” referencing the earlier relief package Trump signed into law.

“But one of the first things the previous administration did was fire the head of the inspector generals’ committee. So when Congress passed what was intended to be a small-business relief program, it instead became a free-for-all for well-connected companies, and mainstream businesses … that needed the help most were left behind – 400,000 are now gone. We will not let that happen this time.”

He also announced on Monday that he was naming a new “czar” to oversee the massive stimulus plan, selecting Gene Sperling, an economic advisor to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, to oversee the enormous sums contained in the new rescue package.

Biden wants the public to be well aware of the help the Democrats are providing in the plan – which passed without a single Republican vote in either chamber of Congress – so that his party can gain ground in Congress in the 2022 mid-terms.

The president is scheduled to travel to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and on Friday he will go to Georgia to publicly detail the advantages of the stimulus package.

Vice President Kamala Harris also hit the road for the campaign on Monday, traveling to Las Vegas on her first official trip as VP and heading to Colorado on Tuesday, while first lady Jill Biden traveled to Burlington, New Jersey, to talk about the rescue plan.


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