Biden signs $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill into law

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law, just a day after final approval from Congress.

The president had planned to sign the legislation into law on Friday but Mr. Biden and his advisers said on Thursday morning they did not want to wait anymore, emphasizing the urgency of delivering $1400 direct relief checks and extended unemployment benefits to the American people.

“The enrolled bill arrived last night — so @POTUS is signing it today,” Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted early on Thursday. “We want to move as fast as possible. We will hold our celebration of the signing Friday, as planned, with Congressional leaders!”

The bill authorizes a vast infusion of federal aid into the American economy and provides direct assistance to the American people, states and local governments.

Joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, the president said it was clear an “overwhelming percentage” of the American people support the legislation, describing it as being “about rebuilding the backbone of this country.”

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country, and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance,” the President told reporters after signing the bill in the Oval office.

The signing of the bill comes ahead of his first primetime address on Thursday evening.

President Biden’s speech on Thursday evening, expected to run under 20 minutes, will highlight the sacrifices made by the American people, the more than 500,000 lives lost, and the millions of people whose lives have been changed by the pandemic, a senior White House official said.

President Biden will also speak about how responding to the deadly pandemic has been the greatest operational challenge the country has faced and the work his team has done to rapidly increase the number of vaccinations, vaccinators, and vaccination sites up and running.

In addition, the President will lay out the next steps he will take to get the pandemic under control, level with the American people about what is still required to defeat the virus, and provide a hopeful vision of what is possible if we all come together.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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