President Biden Signs Sweeping Stimulus Package Into Law

The $1.9 trillion relief bill is among the largest anti-poverty measures in US history.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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President Biden signed his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package into law Thursday afternoon, pumping billions of dollars into combating the pandemic and paving the way for hundreds of millions of Americans to receive $1,400 checks.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country, giving people in this nation—working people, middle class folks, the people who built the country—a fighting chance,” Biden said before signing the bill into law.

The legislation includes monthly payments to families with children up to income thresholds of $115,000 for a single parent or $150,000 for a couple. Though temporary, this game-changing provision, which mirrors the subsidies available to parents in several prosperous European nations, is expected to cut child poverty nearly in half.  

The Senate passed a revised version of the bill after a marathon vote this weekend, and the House approved the Senate version yesterday. The bill had no Republican support in either chamber. Biden’s signing comes a day earlier than initially planned.

The Senate’s most significant changes to the original text of the legislation were limiting the eligibility for stimulus checks from $100,000 annual income for individuals to $75,000; keeping unemployment payments at $300 per week, instead of $400, through September 6, while making $10,200 in benefits nontaxable; and exempting student loan forgiveness from income taxes through 2025. The Senate also dropped language that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, after some Democratic senators signaled that they were unwilling to support that provision.

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