Biden and Kamala Harris kick off tour to sell Covid stimulus bill

Washington: With a promise of “shots in arms and money in pockets,” President Joe Biden on Monday kicked off a week of promotion and travel for the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill he signed into law last week to help the country move past the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden and other advocates including Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden are being deployed to various states and to television as part of what the White House is calling the “Help Is Here Tour.”

The package, one of the largest economic stimulus measures in U.S. history, provides $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit and increased funding for vaccine distribution.

The legislation was Biden’s first legislative priority on taking office in January.

He said his administration would reach two important goals over the next 10 days: 100 million coronavirus shots in people’s arms and 100 million checks in people’s pockets or bank accounts.

“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,” Biden added.

Taking their case directly to the people, Harris traveled to Las Vegas on Monday, while Biden went to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Atlanta on Friday.

“We want to avoid a situation where folks are unaware of what they’re entitled to and then this moment passes and they don’t get the full relief,” the vice president told reporters in Las Vegas.

Democrats regard the bill as good policy and good politics. Opinion polls show majorities supporting efforts to shore up the coronavirus vaccination campaign, prepare schools to reopen and ease poverty after a year-long pandemic that has killed more than 535,000 Americans and put millions of people out of work.

Republicans, who broadly supported coronavirus relief early in the crisis when Donald Trump was president, have called the latest measure an overpriced collection of pet projects unrelated to the pandemic.

Harris said she visited Nevada because of the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on the state’s hospitality industry. Speaking with workers and labor unions about the legislation’s benefits, she urged people to file their taxes so they can receive such relief faster.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy las Vegas Review-Journal)

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