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A survey recently released by the Pew Research Center showed that 70 percent of U.S. citizens support the relief package.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed the US$1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief bill into law, after weeks of partisan fighting in the Congress, marking the first legislative victory for him 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. A survey recently released by the Pew Research Center showed that there is broad public support for the relief package, with 70 percent of Americans saying they favor the legislation.
"The Congress is more polarized than the American people," said Jeffrey Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University and senior United Nations advisor.
"The American people have actually a broad consensus, let's get on with our lives. Let's have control of the pandemic. Let's have an increased role of government, but the political divide between the Democrats and Republicans is very strong," he added.
Democrats in Congress just passed one of the most significant economic packages in American history.
These are just a few of the highlights of the American Rescue Plan, a set of policies that will move us toward real relief & help millions across the country in need of support. pic.twitter.com/tsvPN4PJ7L
The measure includes funding for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, extra unemployment benefits, direct payments to working people, support for small businesses, state and local governments, and schools.
The relief bill includes a US$300 weekly federal unemployment benefit through September, instead of the US$400 in an earlier version approved by the House. It also includes a new round of up to US$1,400 of direct payments for citizens.
Despite strong support from Democratic lawmakers, the bill might be a little disappointing to some progressives, who advocated for the federal minimum wage to be raised to US$15 an hour, a provision that wasn't included in the final package.
#FromTheSouth News Bits | This Tuesday the high-profile trial of the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd—an African-American man whose death sparked mass protests against systemic racism and police brutality in the US and worldwide—began with the jury selection. pic.twitter.com/xKjt4iAEnM