Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday at the Las Vegas Culinary Academy visited health care providers at UNLV and staff packing boxes of groceries for those in need to recognize the benefits of the $ 1.9 trillion US rescue plan.
“You are the heroes of this moment,” said Harris of the dozen or so workers who packed thousands of pounds of groceries into distributable boxes at the Culinary Academy Monday afternoon. The facility has provided around 37,000 meals to southern Nevadans since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with support from previous stimulus packages.
Harris stressed that the purpose of their tour was to educate as many people as possible about the benefits of the bailout plan – not just about the $ 1,400 checks available to eligible people, but also about childcare loans, expanded unemployment, health insurance benefits and extra support for those who are hungry.
She also wanted to remind people of what she thought the role of government should be during a disaster.
“If you are suffering, if you need a helping hand, if you need a little help to overcome a moment of crisis that you did not create – then have the executives step in and say, ‘I am here. I see you and I will help you, “said Harris.
Something for everyone
The latest stimulus money will lift 40,000 Nevada children out of poverty and help 1 in 7 households currently reporting food insecurity, 1 in 5 struggling to pay rent and 1 in 4 small business owners who have closed, Harris said. The plan calls for more than $ 4.5 billion in benefits to go to the state of Nevada, local governments, school districts, and transportation agencies.
The aid is also intended to solve profound gender equality problems within the communities.
“Not everyone starts on the same basis,” said Harris. “Some people started on the first base. Some started in third place. The point of equality was that we should all somehow end up in the same place … so justice says, let’s take into account that not everyone starts on the same basis. That was part of the spirit behind the American bailout plan. “
Harris was introduced by Rep. Steven Horsford, who ran the Culinary Academy prior to serving in Congress, and the academy’s current CEO, Mark Scott. Horsford said the Rescue Act will support Nevadans, including $ 1 billion in education funding – $ 886 million of which will go to Clark County’s vast school district.
Nevada struck hard
In a brief question-and-answer session with reporters following her events, Harris said she chose Nevada as her first stop because the pandemic was having an outsize impact on the state’s hospitality workers.
“I’ve heard stories from people who have been in this industry for 15-30 years who have been laid off because of COVID,” she said. “But now they really care about when the business will open again and whether they will be hired again.”
She said these firsthand reports help shed light on the statistics associated with this pandemic.
Harris was asked if the Biden administration plans to collect taxes as part of the next phase of recovery.
“We haven’t really figured out what the next phase will be, to be honest,” said the vice president. “And we will make these decisions. (The American Rescue Act) just happened last week, and we want to go out there and let people know what it is, so I’ll keep you posted. “
Earlier in the day, Harris visited a UNLV vaccination center with Governor Steve Sisolak. She also stopped for tacos with Attorney General Aaron Ford. Harris was the attorney general of California before he was elected to the US Senate.
According to her office, Harris also spoke to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about “the American bailout plan and its impact on Nevadans in the face of the economic devastation families and communities have suffered from COVID-19.”
Harris’ husband, the second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, also visited the Food Bank in Three Square on Monday morning.
The couple traveled back to their home state of California after the event on Monday. They plan to visit Denver on Tuesday while the short tour continues.
Contact Rory Appleton at [email protected] or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.