Vice President Harris hosts roundtable with Black Chambers of Commerce

The White House says Black communities and businesses have been some of the most hard-hit during this crisis

Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the Oval Office of the White House on January 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
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The unemployment rate for the month of January 2021 is 6.3 percent with 49,000 jobs added to the economy. 

The nation is in the grips of the COVID-19 recession as the Biden administration is working to stave off an economic depression in this nation. 

Read More: Rice, Sanders push Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan: ‘Inaction is not an option’

The White House says the hurt is still being felt as nearly 11 million workers remain unemployed since the start of the pandemic and around 4 million people have been unemployed for six months or longer.

On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will hold a virtual roundtable with participants from local Black Chambers of Commerce from across the country to discuss the importance of passing the American Rescue Plan

Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. President Joe Biden meet with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the Oval Office of the White House on January 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

Read More: Senate OKs fast-track of COVID aid, Harris casts tie-breaker

The White House says Black communities and businesses have been some of the most hard-hit during this crisis. Early on in the pandemic, research showed that Black-owned businesses closed at twice the rate of their White-owned counterparts, and when applications for PPP loans opened up, Black-owned businesses were more likely to be turned away. 

White House sources contend in just one month, November to December, an estimated 82,000 Black women lost their jobs.

The administration is focusing on ARP’s provisions to include: 

  • Providing $15 billion in grants to the hardest hit small businesses.  
  • Fulfilling the president’s pledge to finish getting $2,000 checks to Americans.
  • Giving Americans who are out of work through no fault of their own a $400 per week supplement.
  • Mounting a national vaccination program and safely reopening schools – which will put people back to work.

Wes Moore of the Black Economic Alliance has been engaged with the White House on the matter of the American Rescue Plan.

“We have been having great conversations with the folks in the White House. And I think there is a clear understanding of why we are pushing on this measure. It’s about the fact that every single day it’s not that we are just losing our children. It’s a fact that we’re paying for it,” Moore tells theGrio

“And what I mean by that is that child poverty costs the U.S. economy between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion a year in terms of criminal justice costs, increase health expenditures, reduce adult productivity. So it’s not like we’re just having this conversation in a vacuum. There’s a cost every single day if we do not do something about child poverty.

He adds, “When you think about the largest policy and really one of the areas we’ve been focusing on with the Office of Public Engagement, is the child tax credit that provides $2,000 to offset the cost of raising children.”

“But roughly one-third of children and families earn too little to be able to access the tax credit.”

The event Friday between Vice President Harris and Secretary Yellen builds off a virtual event the Harris held with National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and small business owners across the nation, just two days after Inauguration Day.

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