Biden says more than 100 million stimulus checks have gone out so far, 'and millions more will be getting their money very soon'
- Biden said that more than 100 million stimulus checks have gone out since the American Rescue Plan became law.
- "More than 100 million payments of $US1,400 ($1,844) have gone into peoples' bank accounts," he said.
- "And millions more will be getting their money very soon," he added.
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President Joe Biden said on Thursday that more than 100 million stimulus checks have gone out since the American Rescue Plan was signed into law earlier this month.
"That's real money in peoples' pockets bringing relief instantly, almost," Biden said at his first news conference since taking office. "And millions more will be getting their money very soon."
He added that the country is also showing other signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that's infected more than 30 million Americans, killed over 545,000, and decimated the economy.
Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan, "a majority of economic forecasters have significantly increased their projections on the economic growth that's going to take place this year," Biden said. "They're now projecting it will exceed six percent - six percent growth in GDP. And just this morning, we learned that the number of people filing for weekly unemployment insurance fell by nearly 100,000 persons."
The US Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday morning. According to the report, 684,000 people filed for initial unemployment insurance the week ending March 20. This was the first time they'd been below 700,000 since last March, when the pandemic first started rapidly spreading within the US.
"There are still too many Americans out of work, too many families hurting, and we still have a lot of work to do," Biden said Thursday. "But I can say to you, the American people, help is here and hope is on the way."
Thursday was the first time Biden gave a solo news conference since taking office on January 20. After making his initial remarks, he fielded questions about hot-button issues including immigration, foreign policy, voting rights, and gun control. He also took questions about the filibuster, which several progressive lawmakers have pushed to eliminate amid staunch opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins pointed out that former President Barack Obama said last year that the filibuster is a "relic of the Jim Crow era" and asked Biden if he agreed with the assessment.
"Yes," Biden said.
"Why not abolish it, if it's a relic of the Jim Crow era?" Collins pressed.
Biden replied, "Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible. Let's figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule first. It's been abused from the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last 20 years. Let's deal with the abuse first."
"You're moving closer to eliminating the filibuster. Is that correct?" Collins asked.
"I answered your question," the president said.
Biden also told reporters that he plans to run for reelection in 2024 and "fully expects" Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate.
"She's doing a great job, she's a great partner," he said. When Collins asked Biden if he believes he'll run against former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said he will launch a 2024 campaign, Biden responded, "Oh, come on. I don't even think about him. I have no idea. I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party."