President Joe Biden signed the $ 1.9 billion coronavirus emergency relief package on Thursday afternoon, while Washington will send new aid this month.
With his signature, the president is going down his first priority in the White House. He will also deliver a speech on Thursday in which he describes how the country will fight the virus a year after the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic.
The plan will send direct payments of up to $ 1400 to most Americans. Direct deposits will start hitting Americans’ bank accounts this weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
The bill also raises a $ 300-a-week boost for unemployment insurance through Sept. 6 and increases the child tax credit for a year. It will also provide nearly $ 20 billion in Covid-19 vaccinations, $ 25 billion in rental and utility assistance, and $ 350 billion in state, local and tribal relief.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said before signing the legislation. “And to give people in this country, working people, middle class people, the people who built this country a chance.”
President Joe Biden signs the U.S. rescue plan on March 11, 2021 at the White House Oval Office in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Democrats passed the bill in Congress without a Republican vote through the budget reconciliation process. The House approved the measure Wednesday.
Republicans called the proposal inappropriate at the moment because Covid-19 is picking up vaccines and moving more states to reopen their economies. The IDP has criticized what it says is that funding is not needed to fight the pandemic.
“The American people have already built a parade that marches to victory,” Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, Senate, minority leader, said Thursday. “Democrats just want to jump to the front of the parade and demand credit.”
Democrats called for the bill needed to sustain the economic recovery to ease the pain caused by a year of economic constraints. More than 20 million people are still receiving some form of unemployment benefit, and millions of households are struggling to afford food and housing.
Democrats also pointed to the potential of the bill to reduce child poverty.
The legislation also increases the maximum benefit for supplementary nutrition assistance programs by September 15 by 15% and leads nearly $ 30 billion to restaurants. It will send more than $ 120 billion to K-12 schools.
The legislation will also increase provisions to make healthcare more affordable and extend tax credits to help businesses on the payroll.