President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered remarks from the White House to tout the early successes of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this year.
The American Rescue Plan provided most Americans with $1,400 stimulus checks — the third round of stimulus checks that have hit Americans’ bank accounts since last spring.
The stimulus package also provided millions of dollars to set up mass vaccination sites, create more materials needed to make and deliver the vaccines and offer relief to small businesses struggling amid the pandemic.
"The American Rescue Plan is working. America is getting vaccinated, job creation is soaring," Biden said.
Biden in particular focused on the aid that the package was delivering to the restaurant industry through the Restaurant Revitalization Program. Applications for that aid opened on Monday, and Biden says his administration has received more than 186,000 applications.
Biden added that the aid will be delivered to the smallest bars and restaurants seeking aid first.
"That way they don't have to compete above their weight class," Biden said.
While restaurants are now eligible to apply for additional aid, many restaurants across the country are facing a labor shortage. Industry officials believe the shortage is being caused by people who are still receiving unemployment or leaving the industry entirely during the pandemic.
Biden’s comments will come one day after he announced that his administration was preparing to enter a new phase of vaccine distribution — a phase he says will attempt to remove as many barriers as possible facing Americans as they seek vaccinations.
Biden is directing pharmacy partners to prioritize walk-in appointments and plans to set up pop-up vaccination clinics across the country — particularly in rural communities. The administration has also established a new website and text message line that will direct Americans to nearby vaccine clinics.
Biden says his new goal is to have 70% of the U.S. adult population with at least one shot, and to have 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4. He’s surpassed previous vaccination goals after the U.S. administered more than 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office.
Biden’s remarks from the White House will take place at 2 p.m. ET.