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Biden heads to Pennsylvania to tout $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan

Biden touts COVID relief plan and vaccine effort
Biden touts coronavirus relief plan and vaccine effort 01:53

Washington — President Biden is in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to promote the American Rescue Plan, the beginning of a six-state presidential swing to highlight the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that was signed into law last week

The president's first stop on his tour is to his home state, and specifically, Smith Flooring in Chester, Pennsylvania. Smith Flooring is a Black-owned union shop that installs and supplies flooring. The company received assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, and qualifies for the employee retention tax credit under the ARP.

"This is a great outfit. This is a union shop," the president told employees. 

In brief remarks, Mr. Biden reiterated his goal to get 100 million checks in pockets and 100 million shots in arms in his first 100 days. The president noted how COVID-19 has hit minority communities especially hard. 

Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses are touring the country this week to tout the measure, which includes popular provisions such as additional unemployment benefits, a child tax credit and $1,400 direct checks for Americans making $75,000 or less.

The relief measure also includes $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $14 billion for vaccine distribution and $130 billion to assist schools with reopening.

"Help is here and hope is here in real and tangible ways," the president said in remarks touting the American Rescue Plan on Monday. He promised to "reach two giant goals" over the next 10 days.

"The first is, 100 million shots in people's arms, will have been completed within the next 10 days, and 100 million checks in people's pockets in the next 10 days.  Shots in arms and money in pockets — that's important," Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden also announced on Monday that he had tapped Gene Sperling, a longtime economic adviser under Democratic administrations, to oversee implementation of the American Rescue Plan.

"Gene will be on the phone with mayors and governors, red states, blue states, a source of constant communication, a source of guidance and support, and above all, a source of accountability for all of us to get the job done," Mr. Biden said.

The White House effort to sell the bill to the American people, dubbed the "Help is Here" tour, began on Monday with Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff visiting Las Vegas and first lady Dr. Jill Biden traveling to New Jersey.

The president's visit to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday is his first appearance as part of the tour. He will visit a small business in Chester, Pennsylvania, in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Republicans have already begun their counterprogramming against the bill. The measure narrowly passed in the House and the Senate along party lines, without any Republican support.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is launching a campaign to counter Mr. Biden's message by booking local surrogates on radio and TV, implementing rapid response teams to react to Mr. Biden and Harris' public appearances, amplifying Republican voices on social media and holding press calls with in-state surrogates, the committee said.

"As Biden takes his victory lap to the states, we will actively be holding him and his Democrat counterparts accountable for misleading the American people and ensuring that voters know the real cost and waste of this package," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told CBS News in a statement.

Kristin Brown and Kathryn Watson contributed reporting.

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