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This piece was originally published in the March 12, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“It’s long past time for this country to step up and do what we need to do to help those people who are hurting. That’s the right thing to do.”
— White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law
Relief is finally on the way.
IN THE NEWS
- Breaking tonight: The U.S. has now administered more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
- In yet another sign that relief really, truly cannot wait a minute longer, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law yesterday afternoon — a day ahead of schedule — following the bill’s House passage earlier this week. Here’s a quick breakdown of what this means for the American people:
- Our story bank team at CAP Action spoke with people from across the country to find out how the American Rescue Plan will affect them. You can read their powerful stories here.
- Like many Americans, you might be wondering when to expect your stimulus check. If all goes well, many eligible people could be getting that long-awaited direct deposit notification as soon as this weekend. If you don’t use direct deposit for your tax refunds, or if you otherwise expect to get a physical check, it might take a little longer to reach your mailbox. But the administration says they’ve learned from the flaws in the system used to distribute last year’s stimulus checks and are addressing problems that could cause delays before they happen this time around.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- In his first major prime time address to the nation, President Biden announced last night that he would direct every state to expand vaccine eligibility to every adult by May 1. This is, to put it lightly, huge. Of course, no part of getting this pandemic under control has come without logistical challenges, and wrangling every state and territorial vaccination effort to meet the May 1 deadline will be no exception. But even though the path to recovery may not be easy, after so much suffering, it’s promising to see the White House setting this benchmark — especially for the millions of people who are still anxiously awaiting a vaccine.
- If you’re thinking back to Donald “this will all be over by Easter” Trump, don’t panic. Unlike the baseless numbers Trump recklessly tossed around throughout his final year in office, Biden’s May 1 goal is already starting to materialize. In the less than 24 hours since Biden’s announcement, we’ve actually seen several states begin to expand vaccine eligibility to broader groups of residents.
- It’s not complicated — states (and future states) need more doses, and Biden is making that happen. And with the help of the upcoming national vaccine website that he previewed last night, all signs indicate we’re heading in the right direction.
- Biden also used his speech last night to decry the nationwide surge in racist violence and rhetoric against Asian Americans. “They’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated,” he said. “They’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down the streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
- The coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic a year ago yesterday. BuzzFeed chronicled the hour-by-hour saga that was March 11, 2020. It’s hard to believe, but that one day was when it all went down — Tom Hanks testing positive for COVID-19, a chilling announcement from the World Health Organization, abrupt closures of Broadway shows and professional sports games, and an especially strange episode of The Masked Singer. Check out the full article here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- 100 years after the Tulsa massacre, prison reform is long overdue in my home state of Oklahoma by Sr. Pastor Mareo D. Johnson (Business Insider)
- With Relief Plan, Biden Takes on a New Role: Crusader for the Poor by Michael D. Shear, Carl Hulse, and Jonathan Martin (New York Times)
- Higher rate of smaller businesses see PPP benefits under Biden than Trump by Will Ragland (CAP Action)
- Cuomo Never Let Me Forget I Was a Woman by Jessica Bakeman (The Cut)
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