New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Help is here.
President Biden signed one of the largest stimulus packages in American history into law on Thursday, pouring nearly $2 trillion into a wide-ranging effort to crush the coronavirus and bring back the pandemic-ravaged U.S. economy from the brink of disaster.
Appearing in the Oval Office with Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden said the $1.9 trillion bill is about providing immediate relief to the millions of Americans battered by the deadly virus.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country, and giving people in this nation — working people, middle-class folks, people who built the country — a fighting chance,” Biden said before signing the gargantuan legislation. “That’s what the essence of it is.”
Biden vowed to discuss the so-called American Rescue Plan more at length during the first primetime address of his presidency slated for 8 p.m. Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of coronavirus-related shutdowns in the US.
The bill — which passed both chambers of Congress without any Republican support — is the first major legislative victory for Biden, as his administration mounts a challenging bid to end the pandemic.
The most popular provision bankrolls $1,400 stimulus checks to individual taxpayers earning less than $75,000 per year, and $2,800 checks to couples earning less than $150,000.
With the bill now signed, the Treasury Department is expected to quickly get to work on processing checks. Those who have direct deposits set up with the Internal Revenue Service could likely get their payments within days.
“People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters after Biden inked the bill.
It includes hundreds of billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccination and testing efforts, school reopenings, budgetary relief for struggling state and local governments, rental assistance, food programs and aid for small and big industries, from restaurants and music venues to airlines and transit agencies.
The legislation also extends a $300-per-week federal unemployment aid bonus through September, and makes the first $10,200 earned in jobless benefits tax-free, providing a lifeline for the millions of Americans who remain out of work because of the pandemic.
Biden initially wasn’t supposed to sign the bill until Friday, but moved up the signing after congressional leaders wrapped up the bureaucratic enrollment process “more quickly than we anticipated,” Psaki said.
Psaki said Biden will still hold a celebratory ceremony at the White House on Friday with Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
- Top Feature Photo: President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan on Thursday – Andrew Harnik