Biden celebrates relief bill with Democratic leaders
President Biden on Friday celebrated his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill as a measure that “puts working people in this nation first” but acknowledged that it would take “fastidious oversight” in order to ensure the bill is implemented as intended.
Biden gathered with Democratic congressional leaders in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon to declare that help is on the way for hurting Americans, a day after signing the massive relief bill into law. It marked his first major legislative achievement as president.
“It changes the paradigm. For the first time in a long time, this bill puts working people in this nation first,” Biden said. “For too long, it’s been the folks at the top.”
Biden listed off several provisions of the legislation: $1,400 direct payments, support for school reopenings, extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, small business assistance, and an expansion of the child tax credit, as efforts that would help the nation.
Biden also cast the measure as having bipartisan support in the country amongst voters and mayors, despite no Republicans in Congress voting to support it.
Biden was joined at the ceremony by roughly two dozen House and Senate lawmakers, Vice President Harris and a handful of White House staff. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) each spoke before Biden to declare that “help is on the way.”
Harris in her remarks commended Biden for his work on the legislation and described the relief bill as one that would have impact on Americans “for generations to come.”
The event represented a victory of lap for the administration and leaders of Congress just over 50 days since Biden’s inauguration, kicking off a series of trips that Biden, Harris and other administration officials will begin next week to tout the legislation.
The Internal Revenue Service is expected to begin sending out $1,400 direct payments to Americans who qualify for them beginning this weekend, but some of the other parts of the legislation are more complex and may take longer to implement.
“It’s one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It’s going to be another thing to implement it. It’s going to require fastidious oversight to make sure there is no waste or fraud and the law does what it’s designed to do,” Biden said. “We have to get this right. Details matter. Because we have to continue to build confidence in the American people that their government can function for them and deliver.”
“There is a lot of work for us left to do but I know we will do it,” he continued. “To every American watching: Help is here and we will not stop working for you.”
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