By Isabel Wilson
A year later, the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting Americans financially. Schools are not fully reopened; businesses must follow capacity limits, and many are still left unemployed. These circumstances have resulted in many having to rely on savings or government support to afford necessities, such as food and housing.
On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. Although many were thrilled that this legislation had been passed, it left Americans with questions, considering some of the qualifications have been changed since the last stimulus bill was passed. The stimulus package will provide $1,400 checks to single tax filers making less than $75,000 per year and married couples making less than $160,000 per year. Unemployment benefits will be extended at $300 per week until September. The stimulus package also includes housing assistance, health care coverage and changes to tax credits.
The Biden Administration began the “Help Is Here Tour” by traveling around the country to “sell” the stimulus plan to Americans. The purpose of this tour was not to necessarily sell the stimulus package, but instead educate people about their rights and what they are entitled to from the American Rescue Plan Act. The Biden Administration wants these benefits to be clear to people to ensure that everyone is receiving what they deserve.
Republicans were not in support of this bill because they believed that it is too costly and included elements that were not specifically related to the pandemic or the economic recovery.
Many people have criticized the Biden Administration because the president has waited longer than previous administrations to make public speeches or hold an official questions and answers session with reporters. Critics believe that the Administration is trying to limit Biden’s press time in worries that he will make a mistake. Some argue that the daily press briefings make up for the lack of Biden’s press time, but others argue that they would rather hear from the president directly.
The “Help Is Here Tour” was a good opportunity for President Biden to talk face-to-face with the American people, especially since campaigning was impacted by the second wave of the pandemic. Biden showed his critics that he is making an effort to speak with Americans and the media directly. It proved that he does not always need to rely on Jen Psaki to communicate with the press for him. Especially during the times we are living in, it is crucial that Americans are educated on what is happening and what they are entitled to from the stimulus package. Hopefully the stimulus package will prove to be successful toward fighting the pandemic and boosting the economy.
Isabel Wilson is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.
Leonard, B. (2021, March 12). Transformational: Biden begins stimulus sales pitch. Politico. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/12/biden-stimulus-sales-pitch-475562
Smith, K. A. (2021, March 11). Biden signs third stimulus package into law- here’s how it’ll affect you. Forbes. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/biden-signs-third-stimulus-package/
Superville, D., Lemire, J., & Miller, Z. (2021, March 16). The road show begins: VP Harris, Jill Biden promote aid plan. Associated Press. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/kamala-harris-jill-biden-promote-virus-relief-plan-20daf5a372454ce90589606d0f53d620