President Joe Biden signed his blockbuster $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan, into law on Thursday afternoon.
“This legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, the middle-class folks, the people who built the country, a fighting chance,” he said before signing the bill in the Oval Office.
Biden initially planned to sign the legislation on Friday. However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Thursday that the signing would be moved up due to Congress enrolling the bill, which passed in the House on Wednesday, “more quickly than we anticipated.”
The President will still hold a celebration of the signing with leaders of Congress on Friday, according to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
The American Rescue Plan promises to be one of Biden’s most crucial actions in his presidency as the country grapples with the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered businesses and left millions of Americans unemployed.
The package includes $1,400 direct payments, $300 weekly unemployment benefits, expansions of the child tax credit and other sweeping measures aimed at easing the financial burdens of the pandemic.
Biden will give his first prime-time national address on Thursday night marking the one-year anniversary of when the shutdown caused by COVID-19 began and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread to be a pandemic.