Biden to Sign $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Today

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Relief for millions of Americans could be right around the corner.

Lawmakers have been fast-tracking a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill so as not to delay aid for the public. And now, President Joe Biden has said he'll sign that relief bill into law this afternoon -- one day ahead of schedule. That means a host of aid could soon be made available for the many Americans who need it.

Stimulus payments could come quickly

One of the most notable features of the new relief bill is a round of $1,400 stimulus payments. Individuals earning $75,000 or less and married couples earning $150,000 or less will be entitled to a full stimulus, but from there, those payments will sharply phase out, and they'll be cut off completely for individuals earning $80,000 or more and couples earning $160,000 or more. Still, most people who were eligible for a stimulus payment during the first two rounds will remain eligible this time around.

Since the IRS already has a system in place for distributing stimulus funds, it's feasible that those payments could begin hitting Americans' bank accounts as early as next week. And it's certainly fair to say that those getting a stimulus via direct deposit will have their money before March comes to an end.

Recipients who can't get direct deposit because the IRS has no bank account information for them on file will need to wait a bit longer for their money, but some people in that boat may still see their checks arrive in the mail before March wraps up. Others, however, will need to wait until April, or even May, to get their money. Furthermore, some stimulus payments may come in debit card form, as was the case during the first two rounds of payments.

Meanwhile, a big part of the reason the relief bill moved so quickly is that lawmakers wanted it signed into law before extended unemployment benefits ran out. The last relief bill, which passed in late December, extended those payments for millions through March 14.

At this point, it's clear that the new relief package will, in fact, be signed prior to that March 14 deadline. But whether that's soon enough to prevent a lapse in unemployment benefits is yet to be determined. While some states may be equipped to continue those benefits, in other states, jobless workers could face a gap in payments. The latter scenario isn't ideal, and it's something lawmakers were eager to avoid. The good news, however, is that some jobless workers who do have to go a few weeks without unemployment benefits may get a stimulus payment during that window to help compensate.

In addition to stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, the new relief bill also enhances the Child Tax Credit and expands healthcare subsidies for workers without insurance. The fact that it's being signed today should give Americans on a whole a reason to breathe a bit more easily. While not everyone will benefit from each individual provision in the bill, there's enough aid in there for it to impact the public in a very meaningful way.

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