12:10 P.M. EDT
MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Happy Monday. I just have a couple of items for you at the top.
The “Help Is Here” tour continues today with the Vice President and Second Gentleman traveling to show how the American Rescue Plan provides help to put food on the table.
The Vice President will travel to Jacksonville, Florida, to visit a vaccination center and convene a listening session at a food distribution center. And the Second Gentleman is traveling — I say “is traveling,” not “will travel,” because it’s happening today — to Des Moines, Iowa, where he; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — former governor; and Congresswoman Cindy Axne will visit a food relief organization.
Note Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, March 22, 2021
The American Rescue Plan will reduce hunger, strengthen the food supply chain, and provide support to underserved, socially disadvantaged farmers. It will:
Extend the 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits through the end of September — about $28 per month per person.
Provide $888 million to deliver expanded access to more fruits and vegetables to moms and babies participating in WIC.
$37 million for senior nutrition and $1 billion in nutrition assistance for the territories.
It will support farmers of color with $4 billion toward debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers to pay off burdensome debts, and $1 billion in funding to USDA to create a racial equity commission and address longstanding discrimination.
Tomorrow, the “Help Is Here” tour will continue with the President — with President Biden traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to highlight how the American Rescue Plan will help to lower healthcare costs. He will deliver remarks on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law — of course, something he had a major role in — and encourage Americans to sign up for insurance at HealthCare.gov during the special enrollment period his administration opened amid the pandemic.
Additionally, Health and Human Services Secretary — newly confirmed Secretary Xavier Becerra will travel to Carson City, Nevada, and the Second Gentleman will be in Omaha, Nebraska, talking about how the Rescue Plan lowers healthcare costs.
And then, on Equal Pay Day, Wednesday, the President and the First Lady will host an event at the White House, and the Second Gentleman will travel to St. Louis, Missouri. They will showcase how the Rescue Plan provides help for women and families by increasing the Child Tax Credit and expanding childcare assistance. And we may have some special guests in the briefing on Wednesday, who, of course, will be women — just to give you a little preview. But go ahead.
Q Thanks, Jen. Two subject areas. In the spirit of transparency to rebuild public trust, when will reporters be allowed to tour facilities holding children who crossed at the southern border? And are there any concerns that the images from those tours might show that there’s a crisis?
MS. PSAKI: Well, first, we are working to finalize details, and I hope to have an update in the coming days. We are working through, with the Department of Health and Human Services and also the Department of Homeland Security, to ensure privacy and ensure we’re following COVID protocols. We remain committed to transparency, and, of course, as I noted last week, we certainly want to make sure that the media has access to these sites.
And your second question — sorry, your second question was what?
Q Oh, uh —
MS. PSAKI: Your first question? I can’t remember which one you asked. Go ahead.
Q Yeah, sorry. Two subjects areas.
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
Q The second subject area is the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The Supreme Court is are now reconsidering the death penalty. President Biden has said he opposes the death penalty. What is the administration’s stance on Tsarnaev and executions going forward?
MS. PSAKI: Well, first, President Biden has made clear, as he did on the campaign trail, that he has grave concerns about whether capital punishment, as currently implemented, is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness. He’s also expressed his horror at the events of that day and his actions — Tsarnaev’s actions, I should say.
As Vice President, he spoke to the people of Boston on the one-year anniversary of the horrible crime. As he said then, “We are Boston…We are America…We own the finish line.”
Of course, any process for the death penalty policy moving forward, I don’t have any updates on that. As it relates to this specific case, I would refer you to the Department of Justice.
Go ahead, Steve.
Q We saw the statement about the trip of Roberta Jacobson and Juan Gonzalez to Guatemala and Mexico.
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
Q Are they going to specifically ask those countries to help stem the tide of the migrants?
MS. PSAKI: Absolutely. Part of our objective, as Roberta Jacobson conveyed — Ambassador Jacobson — when she was in here just a few weeks ago, was that we need to work in partnership with these countries to address the root causes in their countries, to convey clearly and systematically that this is not the time to travel.
If I may, I wanted to — I actually had a little bit of an update or just something I thought would be of interest to many of you, which is what some of the steps are we’re taking in these countries to communicate. And a lot of this is through, of course, the State Department and embassies. And so here’s a few things we’re doing — and this will obviously increase over time, but just to give you a sense of our investment:
The State Department continues to — we’ve placed an estimated 17,118 radio ads in Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras since January 21st in Spanish, Portuguese, and six indigenous languages. These ads played on 33 radio stations reaching an estimated 15 million individuals.
The department has also worked with Facebook and Instagram on an advertising campaign that put out — put our migration messages in the social media streams of millions of individuals
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