Desk Report (Channel TT): Biden’s Relief Package! President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package into law at the White House Thursday afternoon, marking his first major legislative victory. After the signing, the White House said the direct payments to most Americans included in the bill could start arriving this weekend.
“People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” he said before the signing. “And giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance.”
Who Qualifies for the $1,400 Stimulus Checks?:
The House approved the bill Wednesday by a vote of 220-211, with all but one Democrat, Maine’s Jared Golden, supporting the bill and all Republicans opposing it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the bill’s passage “the most consequential legislation that many of us will ever be a party to.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) criticized the bill, saying, “House Democrats have abandoned any pretense of unity.” He noted that the $5.5 trillion in total Covid relief spending to date will cost taxpayers more than $5,000 each.
The $1,400 stimulus checks will start arriving this month and won’t include Biden’s signature. The bill also extends supplemental federal unemployment benefits and provides $350 billion in aid to state and local governments. A proposed increase in the federal minimum wage didn’t make it into the final bill.
The Biden administration is working on a plan to promote the stimulus bill to the public to avoid what they see as a colossal mistake by the Obama administration of playing down early successes like the 2009 stimulus.
Biden also said Wednesday that the U.S. plans to buy 100 million more doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine and that it will share any surplus with the rest of the world. The U.S. is also giving $4 billion to an international program aimed at vaccinating the poorest countries.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the stimulus package to help the U.S. gross domestic product grow by nearly 6% this year. They also expect consumer prices to rise 2.48% and employment to increase by an average of 514,000 jobs a month for the next four quarters.