US President Joe Biden signed a $1.9-trillion Covid-19 relief bill on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the declaration of the pandemic and first shutdowns to contain it.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country, and giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, a people who built the country a fighting chance,” Biden said in brief remarks before signing the bill a day ahead of schedule.
The American Rescue Plan, one of the largest relief efforts ever passed by the government, includes billions for a third stimulus payment for Americans and money for more vaccinations, vital benefits like unemployment and an increased child tax credit. The measure also helps state and local governments recover.
The Internal Revenue Service is expected to immediately begin sending out $1,400 stimulus payments.
It was on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded Covid-19 from an epidemic to a pandemic.
With Biden signing the $.19-trillion stimulus package, all three major US stock indexes hit record highs also on Thursday as a rally in tech stocks continued/
The Nasdaq led the way, gaining 2.52 percent, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.04 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day up 188.57 points, or 0.58 percent, extending gains from Wednesday.
“The stimulus is beating the virus at least as far as the market is concerned,” Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments, said. “And real rates being near negative is just historically a very strong tailwind for asset prices.”
Markets also reacted to positive unemployment data as the Labor Department on Thursday reported that 712,000 US workers filed for new unemployment benefits as analysts were expecting about 725,000 initial claims for the week ending March 6.