The US Senate approved on Saturday a $1.9 trillion relief package that President Joe Biden vows will revive the country’s coronavirus-hit economy.
The bill passed by 50 votes to 49 and it now heads back to the Democratic-majority House of Representatives, where it is expected to be adopted, before being sent to Biden for his signature.
The massive package — its total spending is nearly one-tenth the size of the entire US economy — is Biden’s biggest early priority. It stands as his formula for addressing the deadly COVID-19 virus and a limping economy, twin crises that have afflicted the country for over a year.
The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, and vast piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, schools and ailing industries, along with tax breaks to help lower-earning people, families with children and consumers buying health insurance.
“We tell the American people, help is on the way,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Citing the country's desire to resume normalcy, he added, “Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future.”
- With The Associated Press