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Biden to focus on Covid relief for small businesses in Wednesday speech


President-elect Joe Biden will make remarks Wednesday focusing on delivering relief to small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic with a focus on helping minority-owned businesses, a transition spokesperson tells CNN.

The planned speech in Wilmington, Delaware, the details of which were shared first with CNN, will come as a group of Republicans in the House and Senate mount a futile effort Wednesday to block the counting of the electoral votes that delivered the presidency to Biden.

A source close to the transition said the president-elect’s plans to keep the focus on the coronavirus pandemic amid these attempts highlights a longtime strategy from Biden and his advisers to keep their eye on the tasks at hand and not give oxygen to President Donald Trump’s baseless attempts to undermine the election.

Biden will outline “his commitment to ensuring direct relief reaches the small businesses that need help the most, with a focus on Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American small business owners who need additional resources to reopen and rebuild,” a transition spokesperson said.

“He will also reiterate his commitment to rooting out waste, fraud and abuse and ensuring federal assistance goes to the businesses who not only deserve it, but are playing a role in rebuilding their communities,” the spokesperson said.

Biden’s remarks will come ahead of a meeting with his economic team. The president-elect has made the economic recovery and combating the coronavirus pandemic, including planning for vaccinations, a central focus of his transition as he prepares to take office in two weeks.

The president-elect has backed $2,000 stimulus checks for American families amid the pandemic and has said he will push for more funding for state and local governments to deal with the health crisis upon taking office.

As he campaigned Monday ahead of the Georgia Senate run-offs, Biden argued Democratic wins in the state would deliver his party control of the Senate and ultimately ease the path to achieving those two goals.

He has long argued that economic recovery goes hand in hand with tackling the public health aspects of the health crisis. Biden has outlined a series of goals for tackling the pandemic in his first hundred days in office, including 100 million vaccine shots, encouraging widespread mask wearing during that period, and getting more children back in classrooms.

Last week, he outlined plans for the federal government to play a stronger role in vaccinations as the current pace of vaccine administration significantly trails initial projections made by the Trump administration.

“This administration has gotten off to a God-awful start,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday. “The President spends more time whining and complaining than doing something about the problem. I don’t know why he still wants the job. He doesn’t want to do the work.”

As Trump has rallied allies to try to obstruct the Electoral College certification in Congress, Biden’s advisers have intentionally been measured in their response. Mike Gwin, a spokesperson for Biden, over the weekend called the attempts a “stunt” that “won’t change the fact that President-elect Biden will be sworn in on January 20th.”

But the president-elect himself has not directly addressed these latest Republican challenges. A source close to the transition argued this measured approach has given space to current and former Republican officeholders, including former House Speaker Paul Ryan, to express their opposition to attempts to subvert the election results.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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