LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's no secret that cities like Las Vegas have been harder hit than most during this pandemic because of how dependent our economy is on tourism and hospitality.
President Joe Biden is touting his nearly $2 trillion stimulus package. So, what’s in it for Nevada?
13 Action News spoke with Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, on Thursday. He recapped some of the key aspects of this bill, starting with billions of dollars to help speed up vaccine distribution.
"The key to getting places like Vegas back up and running again is to control the virus and get tourism back up and running again," said Ramamurti.
"That’s why a central part of the president's plan is billions of dollars for vaccine distribution -- to actually get shots into people's arms as quickly as possible," he said.
Ramamurti says the bill would also expand unemployment insurance.
"We also want to make sure that families are taken care of so that they can continue to spend," he said. "This is a consumer-driven economy, and we want to make sure that folks who are unemployed are taken care of."
"That’s one reason why the plan calls for an expansion of unemployment insurance -- $400 a week additionally through the end of September," said Ramamurti.
"That will make sure that folks who have been laid off through no fault of their own are able to take care of themselves and their family, keep food on the table, and keep a roof over their head."
Ramamurti also says the bill includes $25 billion in funding specifically to help the hospitality industry, bars and restaurants.
"Just in December alone, we lost 400,000 jobs at bars and restaurants," he explained. "And so, the president is supportive of that additional funding specifically for that industry, so they can make it through this crisis and come out the other side stronger."
13 Action News reached out to multiple Republican lawmakers in Nevada and prominent members of the Nevada GOP for a response, but nobody we tried was available to comment.
However, Republicans in congress have widely criticized this stimulus package for being too expensive and for sending stimulus checks to Americans who don't need them.
President Biden has reached out to Republicans in Congress with the hopes of passing this stimulus bill with bipartisan support. So far, that's been hard to come by.
But, the president can pass this bill without any Republican support and says that he and the Democrats will do that if they have to.