Biden signs $1.9 trn Covid relief bill into law

US President Joe Biden on Thursday signed the $1.9-trillion Covid-19 relief bill into law, after weeks of partisan fighting in the Congress, marking the first legislative victory for Biden since he took office.

The signing came one day after the House of Representatives approved the measure in a starkly partisan vote of 220-211. Last week, the evenly split Senate narrowly passed the bill by a vote of 50 to 49, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, a survey recently released by the Pew Research Center showed that there is broad public support for the relief package, with 70 per cent of Americans saying they favor the legislation.

“The United States, in the Congress is more polarized than the American people,” Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor at Columbia University and senior United Nations advisor, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

“The American people have actually a broad consensus, let’s get on with our lives. Let’s have the control of the pandemic. Let’s have an increased role of government, but the political divide between the Democrats and Republicans is very strong,” Sachs said.

The measure, the sixth coronavirus-related legislation since the outbreak more than a year ago, includes funding for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, extra unemployment benefits, direct payments to working Americans, support for small businesses, state and local governments, along with schools.

Calling it a historic legislation with overwhelming support from Americans, Biden said at the White House Oval Office that the bill will help rebuild the “backbone of this country.”