US congress, negotiators reach deal on US$2-trillion coronavirus aid package

 

March 25, 2020

 

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin walks to the meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (not pictured) during negotiations on a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief package on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus bill to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, White House official Eric Ueland said early on Wednesday (March 25).

“We have a deal,” Ueland told reporters after days of negotiations on the package, expected to be worth US$2 trillion.

The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, was expected to speak on the Senate floor about the agreement.

The text of the pact was not expected to be available until later on Wednesday.

The package had been expected to include a US$500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to US$3,000 to millions of US families, as well as US$350 billion for small-business loans, US$250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and US$75 billion for hospitals.

It aims to cushion the economic blow from a pandemic that has killed more than 660 people in the United States and sickened more than 50,000, shuttered thousands of businesses, thrown millions out of work and led states to order 100 million people – nearly a third of the population – to stay at home.

The money at stake in the stimulus legislation exceeds what the US government spends on national defence, scientific research, highway construction and other discretionary programmes.

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