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President Joe Biden taps Gene Sperling to head American Rescue Plan implementation

March 15 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Monday tapped former economic policy adviser Gene Sperling to implement the recently signed American Rescue Plan.

In remarks from the White House, Biden touted the benefits of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package he signed last week after it passed through Congress without Republican support and said Sperling has “already hit the ground running” to make sure they are delivered to Americans quickly.

“Gene will be on the phone with mayors and governors — red states, blue states. A source of constant communication, a source of guidance and support, and, above all, a source of accountability for all of us to get the job,” the president said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that Sperling, the only person to serve as director of the National Economic Council twice, will work with the heads of the White House policy councils and federal agencies to “get funds out the door quickly, maximize its impact, accelerate the work the administration is doing to crush COVID-19 and rescue our economy.”

She added that Sperling will work remotely until he is able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The White House began delivering $1,400 direct payments to Americans over the weekend after Biden signed the legislation on Thursday. The IRS on Monday updated its “Get My Payment” system to include the latest distribution.

Biden on Monday said that full implementation of the plan — which also includes funding for more vaccinations and vital benefits like unemployment and an increased child tax credit — will require “fastidious oversight to make sure the relief arrives quickly, equitably and efficiently with no waste or fraud.”

He also criticized the Trump administration for its implementation of the CARES Act, citing the firing of the head of the inspector general’s committee. That move, he said, led to Paycheck Protection Plan funds intended for small businesses instead going to large corporations such as Shake Shack, Nathan’s Famous and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.

“When Congress passed what was intended to be a small business relief program, it instead became a free-for-all for well-connected companies and … businesses from hardware stores to beauty salons that needed the help most were left behind,” Biden said.