Biden Signs Coronavirus Relief Package
Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law
Thursday, opening the door for the release of federal aid for
financially ailing American households and businesses.
Biden, a Democrat, signed the package one day after the House of
Representatives approved the bill 220-211 without Republican support and
one day earlier than the White House initially had planned.
“This historic legislation is about building a backbone in this country
and giving people in this country, working people, middle-class folks,
people who built the country, a fighting chance,” Biden said as he
prepared to sign the bill.
Republican lawmakers objected to the package, saying it was too large
and did not sufficiently target those who were most in need of economic
assistance. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday called the
bill “costly, corrupt and liberal.”
No federal minimum wage hike
The measure narrowly passed in the Senate on Saturday after the chamber
altered some aspects of a bill approved earlier by the House. Among the
changes was the removal of an increase in the federal minimum wage.
The new law provides $1,400 checks for all but the highest-earning
adults in the country, and expanded tax credits for lower-income
families of $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under
6 for the tax year 2021. Unemployed workers will continue to get
$300-a-week national government payments into early September on top of
state assistance. State and city governments will get $350 billion to
help them recover from the pandemic.
Unlike a round of direct payments that went out last year in a
coronavirus relief package, this time the checks will not have the
signature of the president.
The package also includes tens of billions of dollars to fund
coronavirus testing and contact tracing, as well as vaccine
distribution, along with new aid for businesses that have been hard hit
by directives that curtailed their operations over the last year.
Biden on Tuesday visited a hardware store in Washington that has
benefited from a pandemic-related paycheck protection loan program.
with coronavirus relief approved last year, Biden said the newest
package targets loans more narrowly to small businesses. He said a lot
of “mom-and-pop businesses got muscled out of the way by bigger
companies that jumped in front of the line” a year ago.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki praised the legislation at a news
conference Monday, saying that while there were some changes on the
margins as the Senate acted, it represented the “core” of what Biden
On Tuesday, she said Biden and other senior administration officials
planned to continue to tout the benefits of the relief plan after it
“We certainly recognize that we can’t just sign a bill,” Psaki told
reporters. “We will need to do some work and use our best voices,
including the president, the vice president and others, to communicate
to the American people the benefits of this package.
“So, I think you can certainly expect the president to be doing some
travel, and we’ll have more details on that in the coming days,” she