President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill into law on Thursday, the first major legislative victory of his presidency, Fox News reports.
"This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving the people of this nation, working people, the middle-class folks, people who built the country a fighting chance," Biden said as he signed the bill into law.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Americans could begin receiving direct deposit stimulus payments as early as this weekend.
The bill most notably includes $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans, $600 short of the $2,000 he had initially promised. It also includes expanded unemployment insurance and tax credits, as well as billions of dollars in investments into the economic recovery as the coronavirus pandemic appears to subside in the United States.
The bill has faced criticism from Republicans, who unanimously voted against the bill in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. GOP lawmakers have argued that the bill focuses on supporting special interest groups which support the Democratic Party rather than the economy as a whole and that it fails to tackle the reopening of schools which have been closed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Some have also noted that the legislation offers greater rewards to states which voted for Joe Biden rather than Donald Trump. Fiscal conservatives have also criticized the bill as being too costly for a country already saddled with trillions of dollars in debt.
Despite voting in favor of the bill, it has also faced criticism from some progressive Democrats. Progressives initially wanted the bill to include a provision increasing the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, but the amendment was ultimately dropped before the bill came to a vote.
Most Democrats, however, have strongly supported the bill, arguing that it is a necessary step to allow the nation to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.