President Joe Biden Launches ‘Help Is Here’ Campaign in Chester | New

CHESTER TOWNSHIP – President Joe Biden made two stops in Delaware County on Tuesday as part of his “Help Is Here” tour to highlight how the US bailout is meeting the need for vaccines and economic relief for small businesses and the details.

His first stop was at Smith Flooring, a black-owned union store at 903 Townsend St. in Chester Township, followed by another at Darby Borough Recreation Center. The visits were the first the president has made outside of Washington since his inauguration and followed the recent passage of the US $ 1.9 million bailout.

Crowds have gathered throughout the neighborhood, from Highland Avenue to Ninth Street in Chester, to catch a glimpse of the President – or his motorcades.

At Smith Flooring, the president spoke about how the legislation will benefit Americans.

“(We) are in a position where this will bring immediate relief – $ 1,400 – to 85% of the American public,” Biden said of the stimulus payments included in the plan. “(We) are going to get 100 million gunshots in people’s arms in the first 60 days of my administration and 100 million checks – 100 million people are going to get, no joke, a check for $ 1,400, this that would change their life. “

In Pennsylvania, 970,717 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 24,652 have died from the virus. Over four million negative tests have also been performed in Pennsylvania. The pandemic has had other impacts as well – the state’s unemployment rate stands at 7.3%, up from 5% before the outbreak of COVID.

Federal COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Tuesday an increase of more than 16 million doses of outgoing vaccines, resulting in federal distribution of more than 22 million doses to places such as the pharmacies and community health centers this week only.

Those attending the tour were scheduled to undergo a quick COVID test and this reporter underwent the 15toKnow antigen test at Springfield Mall. Self-test with a long, soft cotton swab, the staff were friendly and the results were in within minutes. They also provide a molecular nucleic acid amplification test, similar to RT-PCR.

Part of the president’s visit to Delaware County was also to focus on the economic aid woven into the US bailout.

More than 367,000 people in Pennsylvania have lost their jobs since February 2020, and 9% of all adults in the Commonwealth – or 701,000 adults, of whom 381,000 live with children – report not having enough to eat. Twenty percent of all tenants are not caught up on rent, and 30 percent of adults, or more than 2.7 million, say they have difficulty meeting normal household expenses.

To combat this, the US bailout injected $ 7.4 billion in state tax relief, $ 4.9 billion in local tax relief, and more than $ 5.1 billion in relief. for K-12 schools.

Economic impact payments of up to $ 1,400 per person for more than 8.1 million adults and 2.8 million children began to flow over the past weekend. In addition, families with 2.3 million children are eligible for expanded child tax credit relief of up to $ 1,600 per child – a measure that will lift 140,000 children out of poverty.

Small businesses are also a priority in the US bailout, after more than 400,000 small businesses were closed due to the pandemic.

The plan includes emergency grants, loans and investments for small businesses to rehire and retain workers and purchase sanitation equipment to keep workers safe. Part of this is a $ 75 million outreach and education program establishing an information hotline and deploying community navigators to underserved communities to help entrepreneurs who do not have access to banks, lawyers and to accountants.

An additional $ 28 billion will help small restaurants and dining establishments; $ 7.25 billion will strengthen the paycheck protection program for previously excluded small businesses and nonprofits; $ 10 billion will fuel a small business opportunities fund and the employee retention credit covering up to $ 7,000 in payroll for employees will be extended until the end of the year.

Smith Flooring is one of the companies that received federal help during COVID. The commercial flooring business started 15 years ago in the family basement of James Smith, who had been a union carpenter. The store itself, now a self-contained facility on Townsend Street, employs members of Local 251 of the Carpenters Union.

Before the pandemic, the company had 23 employees. Since then, she has lost 20 percent of her income and there are only 12 employees left, although summer is a busy season. To keep it afloat, the company has relied on paycheck protection loans and is also eligible for community browser services and the employee retention tax credit as part of the US bailout. .

He also received his second PPP loan this month and is using it to retain workers and upgrade technology.

“Thank you for helping the small business – the minority small business,” said Kristin Smith, co-owner of Smith Flooring. “It means a lot that you are here in Chester. It means a lot that you’ve come to see our business… not many people stop here in Chester. And so we are just grateful. “

The president said communities of color deserve attention and resources, especially around the pandemic.

“The hardest hit are members of minority communities,” Biden said. “The rate at which they receive COVID is sometimes significantly higher in the Latin American community, the black community – four times higher – and the death rate is significantly higher … that’s why we work so hard – they work so hard to make sure you get the vaccines in places that are not usually targeted. That’s why we put these vaccines in community health centers. That’s why we now have them in pharmacies. That’s why we have them in pharmacies. why we have mobile units. “

Smith enjoyed Biden’s time.

“It was surreal,” said Kristin Smith. “We appreciate all he does to shine a light on Chester, PA. It is a wonderful city that deserves a return … We are grateful for the visit. I hope we will show the young people that you can get started. a company.”

U.S. Representatives Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5 from Swarthmore and Chrissy Houlahan, D-6 from Chester County, were in attendance at Smith Flooring.

“It was great to see people excited,” Scanlon said, noting the crowds on the streets. “Chester has had his struggles and it’s nice to see people recognized for having a great business here in Chester and to see the bailout and the CARES Act really providing the support needed to keep people in business.”

Houlahan noted that Smith Flooring is a prime example of how federal aid has helped, particularly since the Chester Company received two rounds of P3s.

“They were able to preserve their business and their employees – good union jobs,” the rep said, adding: “They are also in the commercial flooring industry, mostly in schools… and we have a lot of money. in this bill as well, which seeks to ensure that our schools are open and our children can go back to school … What we hope is that people will understand that this is about ‘a bold and very visionary program that will do exactly what we need – a push for the American people and allow them, hopefully, to take over our lives in a better and more way. inclusive.”

Scanlon said the pandemic had explosively exposed income inequality linked to decades of economic fallout.

“It invests money to help people and gives them what they need to stay at home during a pandemic, keep their businesses afloat, invest in child care, get people back to work, so there’s a lot here for the american people and we think it’s really going to make a difference in helping us get back to some kind of new normal – a better normal, “she added.

Houlahan said she hoped the next step would be to implement a set of infrastructure.

“We have known that we have needed new infrastructure for decades,” added Scanlon. “I think there is will and we will do whatever it takes to get it through.”

From Smith Flooring, the president traveled to the Darby Borough Recreation Center, where he made a stopover during his campaign last year.

At the Philadelphia International Airport, the President greeted Governor Tom Wolf, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean, D-4 from Montgomery County, Pa., Former U.S. Representative Bob Brady of Philadelphia, former Governor Ed Rendell, Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Zidek, and Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland.

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