Also on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will travel to Las Vegas, where they’ll visit a vaccination clinic and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, a trade school operated jointly by the Culinary Union and dozens of businesses on the Strip. Harris is also slated to join Biden in Georgia on Friday.
“We will have people out communicating directly in communities, but we’ll also use a range of tools at our disposal, including engaging and communicating through digital means, doing local interviews and also utilizing a number of members of our Cabinet who have key roles in the implementation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week of the effort to let people know what the American Rescue Plan is doing for them and their communities.
That’s in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s minimal efforts in 2009 and 2010 to promote the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act—while Republicans relentlessly attacked them—and top Democrats have made clear they’ve learned that lesson. “The public didn’t know about the Affordable Care Act and the administration was not exactly advertising,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week.
”We didn’t adequately explain what we had done,” Biden told House Democrats of the 2009 stimulus. “Barack was so modest, he didn’t want to take, as he said, a ‘victory lap.’”
Now? Democrats have “learned the lessons from 2009, we made sure we went back to our districts this weekend to tell people how much help they were going to get from this bill,” Rep. Sara Jacobs said.
Republicans, meanwhile, are on the struggle bus, trying to change the subject from the extremely popular new law aimed at addressing the nation’s most pressing problems to … attacking the makers of children’s toys and publishers of children’s books. In addition to children’s popular culture, Republicans are turning back to Donald Trump’s favorite issue: at a recent Republican congressional leaders press conference, Rep. Liz Cheney gave a whopping 45 seconds to COVID-19 relief before changing the subject to immigration.
Never underestimate the Republican ability to lie and attack and get tens of millions of dollars in dark-money advertising from far-right billionaires to change the story and undermine the facts—but so far, at least, they don’t seem to know what to do. And that was before people started seeing the concrete benefits of the law.
To ensure the the implementation of the American Rescue Plan goes smoothly, Biden is appointing Gene Sperling, a former director of the National Economic Council, to oversee the process.