President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 "COVID-19 relief bill" into law Thursday afternoon, a day earlier than planned and just hours before his first prime-time address to the nation.
Notably, Biden took no questions and quickly left the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, promising to issue further comments on the spending package in his 8 p.m. ET address to the nation, his first as president.
Biden has yet to hold a press briefing with reporters during his first 50-plus days in office.
CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins earlier tweeted news of the surprise announcement
: "Update from the White House — President Biden will now sign the coronavirus relief bill in an hour instead of tomorrow."
White House chief of staff Ronald Klain then tweeted minutes later: "The enrolled bill arrived last night — so @POTUS is signing it today — we want to move as fast as possible. We will hold our celebration of the signing on Friday, as planned, with Congressional leaders!"
The signing of the bill might help get relief to Americans in the way of direct payments one day sooner. Also, bolstered unemployment benefits from past Trump administration relief bills were set to expire Sunday.
Biden's 20-minute prime-time address set for 8 p.m. ET marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
"This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation — the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going — a fighting chance," Biden said in a statement Wednesday after the House passed the Senate-approved bill.
The bill provides up to $1,400 in direct payments to many Americans, extends emergency unemployment benefits, and allocates hundreds of billions for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to schools, state and local governments, and ailing industries from airlines to concert halls. An eligible family of 4, for example, gets $5,600 in a direct payment.
The payments will be processed via direct deposit if the IRS has your bank account information from past tax filings or other programs.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week the IRS is working on getting the payments out as quickly as those it delivered earlier this winter, and the White House vowed the majority of eligible Americans would receive their payments before the end of March.
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