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Biden and Harris speak about American Rescue Plan: "Help is here"

Biden sets course for lofty vaccine goals
Biden sets course for lofty vaccine goals 02:32

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday touted the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress this week. The president signed the bill into law on Thursday

The mood in the Rose Garden was exuberant, as Democrats took a victory lap after passing the landmark legislation. Mr. Biden and Harris repeatedly echoed the phrase "help is on the way" after the passage.

"This law is not the end of our efforts. I view it as only the beginning," Mr. Biden said in his remarks. "To every American watching: help is here and we will not stop working for you."

President Biden Delivers Remarks On American Rescue Plan From White House Rose Garden
President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 12, 2021. The $1.9 trillion package will send aid to millions of Americans struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty Images

Mr. Biden thanked the Democratic members of Congress for passing the bill, singling out Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Jim Clyburn for their support for the bill. He also praised Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who attended Biden and Harris' remarks on Friday.  

"I owe you, Chuck. You did an incredible job," Mr. Biden said, noting that all 50 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the bill.

Mr. Biden said that this legislation is "changing the paradigm" for wealth distribution in the U.S., instead of relying on the "trickle-down" theory, and ensuring that the wealthy "pay their fair share."

"It's time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better," Mr. Biden said.

"The president promised help is on the way, and today, help has arrived," Harris said in her remarks before Mr. Biden spoke, saying that the legislation would "get relief to families, get support to communities, and make sure shots get in more arms." Harris praised Mr. Biden for shepherding the bill through Congress.

"You had faith that Congress would pass this plan simply because it is the best thing for the American people and you put in the work to make it happen," Harris said. The bill was narrowly approved by the House on Wednesday with a vote of 220 to 211, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. It passed the Senate on Saturday with a 50 to 49 vote, also along party lines.

The bill is widely popular among the American people, aims to stabilize the economy one year into the pandemic. It provides $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments and $14 billion for vaccine distribution. The bill also provides $130 billion to elementary, middle and high schools to assist with safe reopening.

"Finally, hope is on the horizon and help is on the way," an ebullient Schumer said in brief remarks, raising his fists in celebration as he repeated the phrase "help is on the way."

In a short speech, Pelosi praised the members of the House Democratic caucus, and added that passage of the bill "would not have happened without Joe Biden as president of the United States." Several Democratic members of Congress also attended the event on Friday.

The remarks came after Mr. Biden delivered his first prime-time address on Thursday night, where he officially announced that he will direct all states, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible to receive a vaccine no later than May 1. He also said his administration is on track to reach 2 million shots a day and to reach his original goal of 100 million shots in arms on his 60th day in office, just 10 days from now.

Biden, Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will go on the road next week to promote the legislation across the country, in what is being billed as a "Help is Here" tour. The nationwide events will culminate with a trip by the president and vice president to Atlanta, Georgia at the end of next week.

"In the coming weeks and months I'll be traveling along with the first lady, the vice president, the second gentleman and members of my Cabinet to speak directly to you. To tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment," Mr. Biden said in his speech on Thursday.

Three in four Americans approve of Congress' passing the economic relief package, according to a CBS News poll released on Thursday. Large majorities of Democrats and independents, along with nearly half of Republicans, said they approved of the bill's passage.

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