Biden to sign COVID-19 stimulus bill with $1,400 checks on Friday
President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House
President Biden will sign the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Wednesday.
The bill passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday with no Republican support after a party-line 50-49 vote in the Senate.
“With today’s expected passage of the rescue plan, I can announce that the president will sign the bill at the White House on Friday afternoon,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.
Biden is expected to take a victory lap celebrating his first major legislative achievement in a primetime TV address Thursday night.
Psaki said Biden will aggressively promote the bill as Republicans cue up its alleged waste as a 2022 election issue.
“He wants to ensure that people have access to this information, so he will be hitting the road, the vice president will be hitting the road, the first lady will be hitting the road,” Psaki said.
The bill gives $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans who earn less than $75,000 per year and extends a $300 weekly unemployment supplement through Sept. 6.
But Republicans slammed the package as “socialism” and said it was largely unnecessary as the COVID-19 pandemic fades with increased vaccination.
The package contains $350 billion in state and local aid and $75 billion for COVID-19 vaccination, testing and other pandemic medical supplies.
It offers more than $120 billion for K-12 schools, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than 90 percent won’t be spent in 2021 because funds approved for schools last year haven’t been spent.
The bill grants $1,400 stimulus checks to adults who earn up to $75,000 per year, with smaller amounts for earners between $75,000 and $80,000. An extra $1,400 check is awarded for each dependent child, but in a change from past stimulus checks, the income limits apply to checks for kids too.
Parents also gain a new annual tax credit of $3,000 to $3,600 per child in the bill, up from $2,000 per child currently.
The bill also establishes 15 weeks of paid leave for federal workers, including US Postal Service employees, for COVID-19-related reasons, including care of kids who don’t have school or daycare.
It creates a new $25 billion grant program specifically for bars and restaurants that will compensate for lost revenue, and allows for government reimbursement of health insurance premiums for people who remain on employer policies after losing their jobs.
The bill was rammed through Congress with only Democratic votes under special budget reconciliation rules that allow for a bare majority in the Senate rather than the usual 60-vote supermajority.