House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said Tuesday President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation is on par with the 2010 Affordable Care Act in terms of the transformative reach of the legislation.
Pelosi said that in her 33 years in Congress the major health care overhaul dubbed ObamaCare had been her most "consequential" piece of legislation – "up until now."
"This is definitely on a par with that if not to exceed it in terms of its impact on many more poor people in our country," Pelosi said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
On the eve of the House vote on Biden's first major piece of legislation, Pelosi touted the coronavirus bill as "a remarkable historic transformative piece of legislation which goes a very long way to crushing the virus and solving our economic crisis," Pelosi said.
Pelosi was flanked by fellow Democrats who also talked of the bill in historical terms of fighting poverty, addressing racial economic disparities and advancing a progressive agenda to help working-class Americans instead of the wealthy. Members were giddy about the prospect of passing "seismic" legislation once again in their political careers.
"I'm so excited and I just can't hide it," Pelosi said.
The legislation allocates money for vaccine distribution, state and local governments, school reopenings and food safety net programs. In terms of direct aid to Americans, the bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks to adults and children, an extension of $300-per-week federal unemployment benefits and a new advanceable and refundable child tax credit that would amount to direct payments from the IRS to families. The tax credit is worth $3,600 per child under the age of 6, and $3,000 for children older than 6.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that Biden's coronavirus proposal would add $1.862 trillion to the national deficit over 10 years, with the bulk of the new spending – $1.173 trillion – occurring in the fiscal year 2021.
The federal government ran an annual deficit of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, more than triple the deficit of the previous year, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. The cumulative national debt now sits at $28 trillion.