Both houses of Congress have now approved President Joe Biden's stimulus package. The $1.9 trillion spending bill will provide relief for individuals and companies and provide resources for COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
But with millions of Americans out of work, many people wonder when Biden will sign the stimulus bill and when they can expect their checks.
What the stimulus package includes
Like previous stimulus bills passed under former President Donald Trump, the latest round of spending includes relief for individuals. Roughly $400 billion is going towards $1,400 checks to top up the $600 payments that millions of Americans received in December, including dependants. However, individuals earning more than $80,000 annually and couples earning more than $160,000 will be excluded from the relief entirely.
President Biden's stimulus bill will also extend the existing $300 weekly unemployment benefit through Sept. 16. Importantly, the bill also includes a tax break on the first $10,000 received in unemployment benefits.
For those with children, the bill introduces child tax credits of $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for each child under 6. This increase from $2,000 a year will last for one year and will be sent out in multiple payments rather than one annual payment.
Along with billions in support for individuals, is $350 billion earmarked for states, cities, tribal governments, and territories. Schools will receive $130 billion to reopen, with colleges receiving another $40 billion. Billions are also earmarked for businesses with an expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit. There will also be money for coronavirus testing and vaccination efforts.
The new $15 minimum wage didn't make it into the stimulus bill.
An amendment to the bill, which would have seen the national minimum wage increase to $15, didn't win enough support to make it through the process. Senator Bernie Sanders, who introduced the amendment, said in a statement, “If any Senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken. We’re going to keep bringing it up, and we’re going to get it done because it is what the American people demand and need.”
When will Biden sign the stimulus bill?
With the stimulus package approved by Congress, the bill simply needs a signature from President Biden to take effect. Biden is scheduled to give his first prime time address to the nation in the evening on March 11 before signing the bill at some point on March 12.
“For weeks now, an overwhelming percentage of Americans – Democrats, independents, and Republicans – have made it clear they support the American Rescue Plan,” Biden said after the bill passed the House. “Today, with final passage in the House of Representatives, their voice has been heard.”
When will the IRS start sending out stimulus checks?
Those who have a direct deposit set up with the IRS could receive their stimulus payments as early as next week. For those who don't have payment information set up with the IRS, the process could take a few weeks. Thankfully, you can use the IRS's "Get My Payment" tool to track your check.