US President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9tn (£1.4tn) economic relief bill that aims to help Americans impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic into law.
The bill includes $1,400 payments, an extension of jobless benefits, and a child tax credit that is expect to lift millions out of poverty, reports the BBC.
Biden said the relief package will rebuild “the backbone of this country”.
The spending bill, one of the largest in US history, passed Congress without a single Republican supporter.
Biden is due to give a primetime address later on Thursday to tout the bill’s provisions. He and other Democrats will also hold a signing ceremony at the White House on Friday.
This sixth Covid-19 relief bill is a major legislative win for Biden.
The package has been broadly popular among Americans.
A March Pew Research Center poll found that 70% of US adults surveyed expressed support for the bill, including 41% of Republicans.
Unemployment skyrocketed over the last year, with a current rate of 6.2%, according to the US Labor Department.
Biden had originally planned the bill signing for Friday, but it was pushed up in his schedule “because Congress enroled the bill more quickly than we anticipated,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a tweet.
An official ceremony is still planned for Friday, but the scheduling change reveals an administration anxious to get busy selling the American people on the benefits of this massive and multifaceted piece of government spending.
This – and Biden’s address to the nation Thursday night – are the opening gun of a two-week public-relations blitz, including presidential travel, to highlight the legislation. It shouldn’t be too hard a sell, as opinion polls indicate widespread support for the law even among Republican voters.
What Biden and the Democrats don’t want is a repeat of the 2009 Great Recession relief bill passed under President Barack Obama. Many in the party believe that Democrats did not claim enough credit for the law’s benefits – and that voters had forgotten about their efforts when they cast their ballots in the 2010 congressional mid-term elections (and roundly voted Democrats out of office).
Biden, as vice-president, had a front-row seat for that debacle. His actions as president suggest he hasn’t forgotten it.