US Congress passes long-awaited deal for coronavirus aid

US Congress passes long-awaited deal for coronavirus aid
Economic fallout from the pandemic has left many Americans reliant on food aid. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The US Congress has passed a long-awaited $900bn coronavirus aid package after months of political wrangling.

Senators approved the bill late on Monday, just hours after it was passed by the House of Representatives.

The coronavirus aid package includes direct payments for many Americans and support for unemployment programs and many businesses.

The money is to accompany a bigger, $1.4tn spending bill to fund government operations over the next nine months.

President Trump is expected to sign the package into law quickly.

Joe Biden welcomed the aid package but said Congress needed to get to work to support his coronavirus relief plan in the new year.

The bill passed in the House, by a vote of 359 to 53 and in the Senate it passed by 92-6.

Many Covid-19 aid programs were set to expire at the end of this month and about 12 million Americans were at risk of losing access to unemployment benefits.

But some lawmakers said they felt blind-sided by being asked to vote on the massive bill without even having a chance to read it.

At nearly 5,600 pages, the legislation was described by the AP news agency as “the longest bill in memory and probably ever”.

The stimulus package includes one-off $600 payments to most Americans and will boost unemployment payments by $300 per week, extending expiration dates for the jobless programs until the spring.

The bill also contains more than $300bn in support for businesses and money for schools, vaccine distribution and tenants facing eviction.

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