Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief package received final backing from the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, sealing congressional approval for a massive fiscal stimulus with far-reaching political and economic consequences that will last for years.

The House passed the bill in a narrow 220 to 211 vote, with all but one Democrat voting in favour and every Republican voting against it, paving the way for Biden to sign it into law on Friday. The final greenlight from Congress marks a big victory for the US president, who took office in January with a mission to mitigate fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and reboot the US economy.

The bill reflects a belief among Biden and his top aides that they can rapidly accelerate the recovery without triggering an unwanted jump in inflation. In a statement from the White House just moments after the House vote, Biden said: “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”.

The package includes a new round of means-tested direct payments of up to $1,400 for most American adults, a weekly top-up of up to $300 in federal unemployment benefits, another $350bn in aid to state and local governments and an expansion of tax credits for children. 


Source: Financial Times