Biden to sign COVID-19 relief ‘as soon as I can get it’
President Biden said Monday he intends to sign the American Rescue Plan into law “as soon as I can get it,” with the massive coronavirus relief and stimulus bill poised for final passage in Congress by mid-week.
Biden made the comments to reporters during a visit to a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center where veterans were receiving vaccine doses.
The Senate on Saturday passed Biden’s coronavirus relief measure via budget reconciliation in a 50-49 vote along party lines. The legislation was changed from the version the House passed late last month, meaning the lower chamber will have to vote on the updated version before it can be sent to Biden’s desk
The House vote may not take place until Wednesday, Democratic aides said, as it awaits the paperwork from the Senate.
Senate Democrats changed the unemployment payments from $400 per week until late August to $300 per week until Sept. 6, which will require Congress to return early from the August recess in order to meet the new deadline.
They also lowered the cutoffs for receiving a stimulus check. Under the Senate-passed bill, individuals who make up to $75,000 and couples who make up to $150,000 get a $1,400 check. But the Senate changed the eligibility for receiving a check for a smaller amount from $99,000 to $80,000 for individuals and from $200,000 to $160,000 for couples.
Still, Democratic lawmakers and White House officials alike have hailed the bill as a momentous achievement that meets progressive priorities. Biden said Saturday stimulus checks would go out this month.
The bill would mark Biden’s first major piece of legislation since taking office. The president and his aides have brushed aside criticism that no Republican lawmakers voted for it, citing popular support among state and local GOP officials and the public as a whole.
“Look, the American people strongly support what we’re doing. That’s the key here. And that’s going to continue to seep down through the public, including from our Republican friends,” Biden said Saturday. “There’s a lot of Republicans who came very close. They’ve got a lot of pressure on them. I still haven’t given up on getting their support.”
Cristina Marcos contributed.
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