DES MOINES, Iowa — The Biden administration’s national tour to celebrate the new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan brought two administration officials, along with an Iowa congresswoman, to the Food Bank of Iowa Monday afternoon.
Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, said after the tour, “Americans are already feeling the benefits of it. Money is already in accounts. Change is coming.”
Most Americans will receive $1,400 stimulus payments, families will receive at least $1,000 in additional yearly child tax credits and the unemployed will receive an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits until September. Emhoff said the relief package also increases SNAP payments for food assistance by 15%. “…a massive, massive victory for Americans all over the country,” Emhoff said.
Emhoff campaigned in Iowa several times leading up to the 2020 election on behalf of his wife. This was his first trip to the state since she became vice president.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Iowa’s former governor, also accompanied Emhoff during this trip. Vilsack laid out the impact additional food assistance payments will have on families. “One hundred and two additional dollars each and every month,” Vilsack said, “That’s going to make a big difference.”
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, the Third District Democrat from West Des Moines, joined Vilsack, Emhoff and Food Bank of Iowa Executive Director Michelle Book. “In no way, shape or form, should our country even be facing the levels that we face when it comes to food insecurity,” Axne said.
Feeding America, the national non-profit organization focused of providing food for those struggling to pay for meals, estimates that demand at food banks nationally has increased 55% during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.
Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation opposed the American Rescue Plan. Republicans contend the package was too expensive and contained too many provisions that didn’t deal directly with pandemic relief. That included $86 billion in aid for underfunded union pension plans.