1. Gina Raimondo Talks New Economic Development Initiative
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo joined Press Secretary Jen Psaki today at the White House press briefing to talk about the new economic development initiative that the department is launching thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
“The President signed the American Rescue Plan into law, intended to get our country back on its feet,” Raimondo said. “I’m thrilled right now to be announcing the launch of a transformative $3 billion economic development initiative that will be running out of the Department of Commerce.”
She continued, “Starting today, this afternoon, every community in America can begin applying for that funding. We believe that this is the largest local economic development initiative that the Commerce has ever made.”
The initiative reached out to help the millions of people who struggled financially and personally during the pandemic and economic shut down. She said, “Everybody ought to benefit from this $3 billion initiative, from working mothers, working to balance multiple jobs, to young adults looking for work, to factory workers or retail workers who lost their job in the pandemic.”
The initiative being pushed by the Department of Commerce has the potential to create about 300,000 new jobs in the near term. It will serve the many communities who have struggled this year, including communities of color, and the number one investment priority and core of the initiative is equity. The President is backing up the initiative and fully supports their efforts to rejuvenate the economic and social lives of many Americans.
2. Vaccinated Americans May Have to Mask Up, Again
With the increasing cases of Covid, with positive tests found even in the White House, many people are wondering if the CDC will encourage the Biden administration to bring back the mask mandate. As of now, the guidelines say that vaccinated persons can go in public without a mask, but unvaccinated people, including those 12 and under, should be wearing masks indoors.
However, since vaccinated people are now contracting the virus, people are wondering if these guidelines will change. In response to this, Psaki stated, “This is a disease of the unvaccinated.” 97% of people in hospitals with Covid are unvaccinated. Those who are contracting the virus after securing their two shots are usually asymptomatic and are not showcasing any severe symptoms or problems.
Psaki confirmed the positive tests in the White House but refused to give any information about them, including the number of people who tested positive. She stated that the administration is working with the CDC and will continue to uphold and follow their guidelines, which have not changed as of yet.
However, she emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and stated that this is the real way to combat the virus and beat the mask mandate.
3. President Biden Does Not Support Abolishing the Filibuster
In a speech last night, President Biden said that getting rid of the filibuster, which many Democratic leaders are advocating for, would throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.
Psaki responded that the President has no control over the parliamentary or the Senate and the rules they follow. She explained that his statement was referring to the work needed to be done in order to abolish the filibuster, which is an extensive and arduous process. In addition, many GOP members of the Senate said they would halt all business if this was brought up.
Psaki explained, “The Senate [makes the parliamentary rules], and he’ll leave that to the Senate. It also requires the majority of the Senate to support a rule change. And so, what he was referring to is simply what that process would look like.”