WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States will reach his goal of administering 100 million coronavirus vaccination shots ahead of schedule, hitting the milestone as 100 million stimulus checks go out to Americans under his Covid-19 relief package.
“It’s here, sooner than many ever thought possible,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “Over the next 10 days, we will reach two giant goals: One hundred million shots in people’s arms and 100 million checks in people’s pockets.”
Biden pledged before taking office that his administration would dole out more than 100 million shots in his first 100 days, a goal that many said was ambitious given the sluggish start to the vaccine rollout.
As of Monday, the U.S. has been averaging 2.4 million doses per week, according to NBC News. Meanwhile, stimulus checks began arriving in many Americans’ bank accounts over the weekend.
Biden made the remarks as he, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses start traveling around the country to speak directly to Americans about the benefits of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package.
Biden will kick off the “Help is Here” tour Monday afternoon with remarks at the White House about the plan’s implementation.
Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will travel to Las Vegas on Monday, where they will visit a vaccination clinic at the University of Nevada and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. Afterward, the couple will travel to Los Angeles, where they will stay overnight.
Meanwhile, first lady Jill Biden will spend the day in Burlington, New Jersey, where she’ll tour an elementary school and deliver remarks about the rescue plan, which includes funding to help schools reopen to students for in-person learning.
The president will travel to Pennsylvania’s Delaware County on Tuesday and to Georgia on Friday to promote how the legislation will benefit people and their families, according to the White House. The president won both states in the 2020 presidential election in November.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that Biden and his team are hitting the road because “he wants to ensure that people have access to this information.”
“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,” she said.
The Department of the Treasury announced over the weekend that it began delivering direct stimulus payments to people across the country, which it said it will be “rolling out in tranches to millions of Americans in the coming weeks.”
Biden will tap Gene Sperling to lead the implementation of relief package, an administration official confirmed Monday. The longtime Democratic policy aide led the White House National Economic Council under former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and served as an informal adviser to the Biden campaign. The Washington Post first reported his new role.
Sperling will “work with the heads of the White House policy councils and key leaders at federal agencies so we can get funds out the door quickly, maximize its impact, and accelerate the work the administration is doing to crush Covid-19 and rescue our economy,” the official said. “And they’re going to be partners with state and local governments — just like the president did with the Recovery Act.”
Geoff Bennett contributed.