US Congress passes $892 billion COVID relief package | News | DW | 22.12.2020

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US Congress passes $892 billion COVID relief package

US lawmakers in the House and Senate have approved a massive pandemic stimulus package. The bill would see most Americans receive a one-time $600 payment.

Nancy Pelosi walking inside the US Capitol Building

After months of bitter negotiations, Democrat Nancy Pelosi urged lawmakers to back the bill

The US House of Representatives and the Senate have passed an $892 billion (€729 billion) coronavirus relief package expected to deliver long-overdue help to businesses and individuals hit by the pandemic in the United States.

The financial relief deal garnered overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans and was rushed through both chambers of Congress. The White House has also confirmed that outgoing President Donald Trump would sign off on the bill.

The stimulus means most Americans will receive $600 in a one-time direct payment, as well as establish $300 per week in temporary supplemental jobless benefits.

Now that the Senate has given it the green light, the bill is set to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in additional aid to small businesses as well as $25 billion for rental assistance. The initiative also includes aid for vaccine distribution and logistics.

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Second-largest stimulus bill ever

The package is the second-largest stimulus bill in US history, following the $2.2 trillion in aid that was passed under the CARES Act in March. However, the new bill has its own claim to fame: it's believed to be the longest in US history. Some lawmakers expressed frustration, noting that it was extremely difficult to read through the particulars of the sprawling 5,593-page bill.

In a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation, lawmakers also endorsed a $1.4 trillion deal that will keep the US government funded for another year. This package is also set to go to the Senate for approval.

Earlier, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had urged lawmakers to support the bill, which eventually passed by a resounding 359 votes to 53. The Senate then followed suit several hours later, passing it with 92 votes to six.

jsi/dj (Reuters, AP)

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