WASHINGTON: The United States Senate unanimously supported a $ 2 trillion bill Wednesday to help unemployed workers and industries injured by the coronavirus epidemic and provide billions of dollars to buy much-needed medical equipment.
After intensive negotiations, the deeply divided Senate passed the bill with 96-0 votes and sent a huge stimulus plan to the House on Friday.
President Donald Trump, whose top aides helped negotiate the bipartisan measure, promised to sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. “I will sign it immediately,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
The bailout will be the largest package ever in Congress, including a $ 500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a significant amount to pay $ 3,000 directly to millions of U.S. households.
The legislation also provides $ 350 billion for small business loans, $ 250 billion for comprehensive unemployment support, and at least $ 100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.
The plan is to flood the entire economy with cash to stop the effects of a growing epidemic that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000 people.
Only two other countries, China and Italy, have more cases of coronavirus, and the World Health Organization warns that the United States appears to be at the center of a global coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s top officials and senators from both sides announced that after five days of talking in the early hours of Wednesday, they had agreed to an unprecedented stimulus law.
However, the vote was postponed due to criticism around Wednesday and a final vote was passed almost a full day.
Several Republican senators insist that the bill should be amended to ensure that workers made redundant will not receive more unemployment benefits than they earn at work. But before the Senate approved the measure, a change that could have changed unemployment rules failed.
The most advanced section of the House of Representatives criticizes the bill. Represented Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter as a “historical corporate giveaway”.