President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion economic relief package on Thursday afternoon, ushering in an aggressive infusion of federal aid in a far-reaching effort to address the toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Mr. Biden said, “and giving the people of this nation, working people, the middle-class folks, people who built the country a fighting chance.”
Mr. Biden had originally been scheduled to sign the bill on Friday, after it had been reviewed again and printed. But the president and his advisers, aware that low- and middle-income Americans are desperate for the round of direct payments that the bill includes, moved up the timeline to Thursday afternoon.
Minutes after Mr. Biden signed relief package, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said, “People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend.”
Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, wrote on Twitter earlier in the day that the enrolled bill arrived at the White House on Wednesday night and that the president wanted “to move as fast as possible.”
But he added, “We will hold our celebration of the signing on Friday, as planned, with Congressional leaders!”
The president signed the measure in the Oval Office hours before he is set to deliver a prime-time televised address on Thursday night, kicking off an aggressive campaign to inform voters of the benefits that are coming to them through the relief package.
The campaign will include travel by the president and Vice President Kamala Harris across multiple states, events that will feature a wide range of cabinet members emphasizing the legislation’s themes, as well as endorsements from Republican mayors, according to administration officials.
Mr. Biden is set to deliver the Thursday address just after 8 p.m. from the East Room of the White House, and said on Wednesday that he planned to “talk about what we’ve been through as a nation this past year.”
“But more importantly, I’m going to talk about what comes next,” he continued. “I’m going to launch the next phase of the Covid response and explain what we will do as a government and what we will ask of the American people.”
Ms. Psaki said that Mr. Biden “fully recognizes that speaking during a prime time address is a moment where you have to tell a story. He also wants to give people a sense of what’s possible and what’s ahead.” She also said to expect “news” on the relief effort.
The address, which is taking place around the midpoint of Mr. Biden’s first 100 days in office, is shaping up to be one of the biggest moments for the new president since his inauguration.
It is taking place during a week of forward…
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