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Biden signs $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill – $1,400 stimulus checks expected ‘by the end of March’

President Joe Biden signs executive orders, Jan. 28, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
March 11, 2021

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Thursday – one day earlier than expected – after the House of Representatives passed the measure that includes $1,400 stimulus checks for some Americans with a vote of 220-211 Wednesday afternoon.

The legislation, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will allow $1,400 “rebate checks” to be distributed to individuals making less than $75,000 per year, or $2,800 to couples making less than $150,000. The checks are expected to be sent by the end of the month.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said American households can expect the checks within weeks.

“What do we say to America? We say to America help is on the way,” Schumer said following the bill’s passage in the House. “You will receive $1,400 checks by the end of March.”

Biden was expected to sign the bill on Friday, but White House Press Secretary said on Twitter that the president’s schedule change was made after Congress moved swiftly to enroll the bill.

“Because Congress enrolled the bill more quickly than we anticipated, the President will sign the American Rescue Plan into law today within the hour,” Psaki tweeted. “[Vice President Kamala Harris] will join him in the oval. And tomorrow they will hold a signing event [at the White House].”

Over $75 billion was included in the bill for COVID-19 testing and vaccine rollout support, including funding for hospitals, public health agencies, and biomedical research.

The massive bill also allocates $350 billion for state, local and Tribal governments, almost $130 billion for K-12 schools and $40 billion for higher education institutions.

The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities will receive $270 million from the legislation, $800 million will go to purchase U.S.-grown food products, $200 million for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, $200 million for “worker protection enforcement activities” through the Department of Labor and $175 million for public broadcasting.

“The enrolled bill arrived last night — so @POTUS is signing it today — we want to move as fast as possible. We will hold our celebration of the signing on Friday, as planned, with Congressional leaders!” White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain said in a tweet on Thursday.

After the House vote on Wednesday, President Biden released a statement announcing he would sign the measure Friday.

“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation – the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going – a fighting chance,” Biden’s statement read.

Biden went on to praise members of Congress who voted in favor of the bill, with special recognition given to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he called “the finest and most capable speaker in the history of our nation.”

“Once again, she has led into law an historic piece of legislation that addresses a major crisis and lifts up millions of Americans,” Biden continued. “On Friday, I look forward to signing the American Rescue Plan into law at the White House – a people’s law at the people’s house.”