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Biden taps Gene Sperling to oversee implementation of $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan

Biden and Harris to promote COVID relief
Biden and Harris to promote COVID relief 08:02

Washington — President Biden has tapped Gene Sperling, a longtime economic adviser under Democratic administrations, to oversee implementation of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, the White House announced Monday.

"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 during an event at the White House on the implementation of his rescue plan.

The president said Sperling is charged with ensuring the benefits in the package "go out quickly and directly to the American people, where they belong."

Sperling, who lives in Los Angeles, twice served as the director of the National Economic Council, first under former President Bill Clinton and again under former President Barack Obama. He also worked as a senior counselor at the Treasury Department in the Obama administration, and was under consideration to lead the Office of Management and Budget for Mr. Biden after Neera Tanden, the president's initial pick, withdrew her nomination

Sperling will be working remotely until he receives his coronavirus vaccine, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during the White House press briefing. News of Sperling's appointment was first reported by The Washington Post.

"There's no one who knows how the federal government works better than Gene Sperling, and there's no one better qualified to take charge of the implementation of the Rescue Plan and make sure it delivers for the American people," an administration official told CBS News. 

The official said that in his role, Sperling will work with the heads of the White House policy councils and leaders at federal agencies to ensure money is distributed swiftly and maximize the impact of the stimulus package.

"The president felt it was important to have a point-person who could of course pull all of these levers," Psaki said during the White House press briefing.

Mr. Biden last week signed the $1.9 trillion aid measure, known as the American Rescue Plan, into law, and he, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Dr. Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will hit the road this week to promote the package. The president is also slated to deliver remarks on implementation of the measure at the White House on Monday afternoon.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week the president planned to appoint a "point person" to oversee enactment of the sweeping plan and noted Mr. Biden played a similar role with the rollout of the Obama administration's stimulus package in 2009 to address the Great Recession. 

The coronavirus relief plan, which passed without any Republican support, includes $1,400 direct payments to Americans making up to $75,000, and checks began hitting bank accounts through direct deposit this weekend. It also provides $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, a child tax credit of up to $3,600, $14 billion for vaccine distribution and $130 billion to assist schools with safely reopening. The measure also includes an additional $300 billion in weekly unemployment benefits through September.

The aid package is Mr. Biden's first major legislative victory and seeks to stabilize the economy, which has been hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

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