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Data: Axios Research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The latest COVID-19 relief package is much smaller than most Democrats wanted, and is less than half the size of the CARES Act that was passed earlier this year.

Yes, but: Put the two together, and the amount of stimulus passed by Congress in 2020 would dwarf any previous U.S. government spending program — even the New Deal.

Why it matters: President Trump's suggestion that he might not sign the bill without changes throws the whole package into doubt.

  • But even if that gets resolved, Team Biden has made it clear that they want massive new rounds of stimulus in 2021, directing money to state and local governments as well as executing on their promises to "build back better" with a multi-trillion-dollar investment program.
  • All of that spending would come on top of $2.9 trillion of stimulus passed in 2020 — an amount equivalent to a whopping 14.5% of GDP.

The big picture: Before this year, America's largest-ever spending program was Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — which clocked in at just over $1 trillion, in today's money.

  • On a per-capita basis, or as a percentage of GDP, the record was held by Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal of 1933-35, which spent about $6,680 of today's dollars for every living American. That amounted to 12.6% of GDP at the time.
  • Both records could be smashed this year, with stimulus so far totaling some $8,845 per American. And if Biden gets his way, there's a lot more to come.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Updated 28 mins ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker