President Joe Biden signed the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package Thursday afternoon as Washington plans to send new aid this month.
With his signature, the president checks his first priority in the White House. He will also deliver a primetime address on Thursday describing how the country will tackle the virus a year after the World Health Organization announced the pandemic.
The plan provides direct payments of up to $ 1,400 to most Americans, extends the weekly unemployment insurance increase by $ 300 through September 6, and extends the child tax credit by one year. It also spends nearly $ 20 billion on Covid-19 vaccinations, $ 25 billion on rentals and utilities, and $ 350 billion on state, local and tribal aid.
Biden has said he anticipates stimulus checks to begin this month.
President Joe Biden signs the American rescue plan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on March 11, 2021.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Democrats passed the bill in Congress without a Republican vote on budget reconciliation. The House approved the measure on Wednesday.
“This bill represents a historic-historical victory for the American people,” Biden said after it was passed on Wednesday, saying the spending “addresses a real need.”
Republicans called the proposal inappropriate for the moment as Covid-19 vaccinations spike and more states move towards reopening their economies. The GOP criticized what it called funding that was not needed to fight the pandemic.
“The American people have already built a parade headed for victory,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said Thursday. “Democrats just want to sprint to the front of this parade and claim credit.”
Democrats have named the bill needed to sustain economic recovery and ease the pain caused by a year of economic restraints. More than 20 million people are still receiving some form of unemployment benefit, and millions of households are struggling to afford food and housing.
The party has also highlighted the potential of the Child Poverty Reduction Act.
The legislation will also increase the maximum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 15% through September and direct nearly $ 30 billion to restaurants. It will send more than $ 120 billion to K-12 schools.
The legislation will also improve regulations to make health care more affordable and expand tax credits to help companies keep their employees on payroll.
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