“In the weeks that this bill has been discussed and debated, it’s clear that an overwhelming percentage of the American people—Democrats, independents, or Republican friends—have made it clear—the people out there—made it clear they strongly support the American Rescue Plan,” Biden told reporters in the White House’s Oval Office.
“Their voices were heard,” he added.
The House of Representatives in a partisan vote on Wednesday approved alterations the Senate recently made to the package, including stripping a federal minimum wage hike. No Republicans voted for the plan in either chamber; one Democrat also voted against it in the House, arguing much money remains unspent from previous relief packages.
Biden said the bill will rebuild “the backbone of this country” and give working-class persons “a fighting chance.”
Biden, continuing a trend of not taking questions, then signed the bill. He plans on giving a primetime address on Thursday night before traveling to various places to talk up the package in the coming days.
The White House initially said after the House’s passage that Biden would sign the bill on Friday. The reason for the schedule change was because Congress enrolled the bill more quickly than officials expected, according White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki has previously cited polls in asserting most Americans support the bill.
The fresh package contains $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans, as well as $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $130 billion for schools, and more than $20 billion for COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution.
It also extends supplemental unemployment aid through September, adds to the Child Tax Credit, and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The stimulus payments will be seen in some back accounts as soon as this weekend, according to the White House.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Republicans were opposed to the package for various reasons, including the fact that most of the funding isn’t directly related to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and that most funding for schools is backended, or not slated to go out this year.
Biden “just signed Pelosi and Schumer’s $1.9 trillion liberal wish list disguised as ‘COVID relief’ into law,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) wrote in a tweet on Thursday, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“This is a purely partisan package that funds the Left’s pet projects on the taxpayer’s dime,” he added.
Democrats argued the plan contained necessary provisions for responding to COVID-19 and crucial aid to those who have struggled over the past year because of the pandemic.
The bill “will crush COVID-19 and get our economy firing on all cylinders again,” Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) said Thursday. “Much-needed relief is on the way.”Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber