On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law. Democrats have pushed this proposal through Congress with no support from the GOP. With this, it becomes the first, significant legislative win of Biden’s administration.
The president said this new law aims to help in “rebuilding the backbone” of the country. It also gives Americans “a fighting chance” to recover financially from the pandemic.
The package entails a check worth up to $1,400. It also approves the extension of a weekly unemployment aid worth $300 until Sept. 6th. Additionally, it provides funding for state and local governments, along with vaccine distribution projects and small businesses affected by the pandemic.
The president was initially set to sign the bill on Friday. However, the White House decided to move it to Thursday afternoon so that they can immediately start the distribution of the relief checks.
Coronavirus Relief Plan Still Aims to Help the Country Recover Economically
Biden signing the COVID-19 relief package into law ends the Democrat’s two-month effort to push forward another round of federal money, which aims to help the country recover economically.
Democratic lawmakers who pushed for this proposal said it is one of the most progressive laws in the country’s history. They based this on estimates suggesting it can help lower the poverty rate by a third in 2020. It also claims it can possibly lower child poverty by half. The lawmakers pushing for it also said the legislation is necessary to revive the country’s economy that has been devastated by the pandemic.
On the other hand, however, Republicans criticized the bill and said it was wasteful. They claim it helps address liberal goals instead of the actual crises brought by the pandemic.
Pandemic-Related Spending Reaches $6 Trillion
Previously, lawmakers had already given the approval to roughly $4.1 trillion for COVID-19 relief, as per the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. With this, the total pandemic-related spending in the country has reached roughly $6 trillion.
This amount of spending placed the country’s deficit at $3.1 trillion for 2020’s fiscal year. That doesn’t even include the $900 billion coronavirus relief plan in December. By the end of 2021, it seems the national debt is on track to reach $30 trillion.
President Biden signed the legislation in his office a few hours before he was scheduled to deliver a primetime televised speech. In his address, spoke about what the country has faced in the past year. He also spoke about “what comes next,” and said he will launch the next phase of the country’s response to the pandemic.