Joe Biden signs $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill


US President Joe Biden has signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package.


The plan will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans. Direct deposits will start hitting Americans’ bank accounts as soon as this weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.


"This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people who built the country, a fighting chance," Biden said in the Oval Office before signing the legislation.


The bill will also extend a $300 per week unemployment insurance boost until 6 September and expand the child tax credit for a year. It will also put nearly $20 billion into Covid-19 vaccinations, $25 billion into rental and utility assistance, and $350 billion into state, local and tribal relief.


Congress on Wednesday passed the relief package, which has been Biden's first and most pressing legislative priority since taking office in January.


Republicans called the proposal unfit for the moment as Covid-19 vaccinations pick up and more states move toward reopening their economies.


More than 529,400 Americans have died from Covid-19 as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.


Biden's Covid-19 relief package provides $14 billion for researching, developing, distributing, administering and strengthening confidence in vaccines.


The legislation will also increase the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit by 15% through September and direct nearly $30 billion to restaurants. It will send more than $120 billion to K-12 schools.


More than 95.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the nation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are three Covid-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.



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