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Biden finalizes COVID bill, gives people 'fighting chance'

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U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill - one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, and Biden’s first major victory in office.

"I believe this is, and most people I think do as well, this historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people who built the country a fighting chance. That's what the essence of it is."

The American Rescue plan provides direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments and increased funding for vaccine distribution.

Forecasters expect the measure to supercharge the U.S. economic recovery.

Approval in the Democratic-controlled House came after weeks of partisan debate and wrangling in Congress… and despite the fact that not a single Republican lawmaker voted for the bill in in either chamber... Even though it is popular among Americans.

"The people out there made it clear they strongly support the American Rescue Plan."

From the get-go, Democrats were eager to get a final bill to Biden’s desk for his signature before the current enhanced federal unemployment benefits expire.

On Thursday, their hopes were realized… with Biden putting pen to paper in the Oval Office ahead of an evening speech where he is set to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

"What I'm talking about tonight is the impact on the virus and how we're going to end this pandemic."

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: All right, thank you all.

- US President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, and Biden's first major victory in office.

JOE BIDEN: And I believe this is-- and most people, I think, do as well-- this historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation-- working people, the middle class folks, the people who built the country, a fighting chance. That's what the essence of it is.

- The American Rescue Plan provides direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, and increased funding for vaccine distribution. Forecasters expect the measure to supercharge the US economic recovery.

[SLAMS GAVEL]

Approval in the Democratic controlled House came after weeks of partisan debate and wrangling in Congress, and despite the fact that not a single Republican lawmaker voted for the bill in either chamber, even though it is popular among Americans.

JOE BIDEN: The people out there made it clear they strongly support the American Rescue Plan.

- From the get go, Democrats were eager to get a final bill to Biden's desk for his signature before the current enhanced federal unemployment benefits expire. On Thursday, their hopes were realized with Biden putting pen to paper in the Oval Office ahead of an evening speech where he is set to mark the one year anniversary of the US coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

JOE BIDEN: What I'm talking about tonight is the impact on the virus and how we're going to end this pandemic.