US houses agree on stimulus

Source:AFP Published: 2020/3/25 21:53:40

US President Donald Trump answers a question during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

The Senate and White House have reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package for the US economy and millions of Americans ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, top lawmakers said early Wednesday.

The Senate and House of Representatives still need to pass the legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

McConnell said the Senate will vote on the measure later Wednesday.

The deal aims to buttress the economy by giving roughly $2 trillion to health facilities, businesses and ordinary Americans buckling under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure will put cash directly into the hands of Americans hard hit by the crisis, provides grants to small businesses and hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for larger corporations, and expands unemployment benefits.

It will also inject some $130 billion into what Schumer calls "a Marshall Plan for hospitals" and health care infrastructure, referring to the huge American aid program to rebuild Europe after World War II. 

With viral outbreaks spreading from coast to coast, hospitals have been in dire need of equipment like protective gear, care beds and ventilators.

US stocks had already surged Tuesday on expectations of an agreement. 

McConnell and Schumer negotiated the deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other White House officials amid days of bitter partisan infighting over what to put into the final package.

The agreement followed multiple failed attempts to advance a Republican-led proposal, and pressure had soared to swiftly reach a compromise that provides relief for hundreds of millions of Americans.



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