WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden and his allies are hitting the road this week to promote the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill he signed in law last week as the right prescription for a country humbled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden and a slate of advocates including Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden are being deployed to politically important states and to television as part of what the White House is calling the “Help is Here Tour” to tout measures that include a $1,400 check for most U.S. households.
“I promised the American people, and I guess it’s becoming an overused phrase, that help was on the way,” Biden told a White House ceremony on Friday. “We’ve delivered on that promise.”
The bill was Biden’s first legislative priority on taking office in January and his fellow Democrats used narrow majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate to pass a large measure of what Biden originally proposed without Republican support.
Democrats regard the bill as good policy and 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 over 526,000 Americans and put millions out of work.
Republicans, who broadly supported coronavirus relief early in the crisis when Republican Donald Trump was president, have dismissed the latest measure as an overpriced collection of pet projects unrelated to the pandemic.