The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday approved the massive bill – which would be the largest fiscal stimulus ever passed by Congress – by 96 votes to none, overcoming bitter partisan negotiations and increasing its chances of getting through the House. majority democratic.
The unanimous vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously Congressmen take the global pandemic while Americans suffer and the medical system is on.
“When there is a crisis of this magnitude, the private sector cannot solve it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Individuals, even with bravery and courage, are not powerful enough to repel it. Government is the only force big enough to stop the bleeding and start healing. ”
The package is intended to flood the country with cash in an effort to stem the overwhelming impact on the economy of an intensifying epidemic that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000 people.
There are two more that came into effect this month. The money at stake is almost half of the $ 4.7 trillion the US government spends each year.
Republican President Donald Trump, who promised to sign the bill as soon as it is passed, expressed his joy on Twitter. “96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA! ” he wrote.
Only two other countries, China and Italy, have more cases of coronavirus than in the United States. The World Health Organization has warned that the United States should become the epicenter of the pandemic.
Democratic House leaders announced that they would have a voice vote on Friday. President Nancy Pelosi has said that she supports the bill and is willing to pass more laws if necessary to deal with the crisis in the future.
The Republican leadership of the House recommends a “yes” vote.
The massive bill, worth over $ 2,000 billion, includes a $ 500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $ 3,000 each to millions of families .
The legislation also provides $ 350 billion for small business loans, $ 250 billion for expanded unemployment assistance and at least $ 100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.
There had been a debate on whether the 430 members of the House, most of whom had been absent from Washington since March 14, should return to study the bill. This would have been difficult, given that at least two have tested positive for the coronavirus, a handful of others are in self-quarantine, and several states have issued residence orders.
There are five vacant seats in the House.
Report by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Robert Birsel
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