U.S. Congress passed a 900-billion-USD COVID-19 relief package late Monday, sending the measure to U.S. President Donald Trump for signing into law.
The long-awaited relief package was approved by the Senate with a 92-to-6 vote, along with government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2021. The House of Representatives has also passed the package.
Following months of deadlock over the size and scope of the next round of relief package, Democratic and Republican lawmakers — amid recent COVID-19 spikes and slowing economic recovery — finally reached a deal on Sunday.
The 900-billion-USD relief plan includes another round of direct payments for individuals, federal unemployment benefits, and more funding for Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses. It also features hundreds of billions more for schools, testing and the distribution of vaccines.
In order to reach an agreement, both parties agreed to drop their key demands: more aid to state and local governments, sought by Democrats, and liability protections for businesses, sought by Republicans. These have been key sticking points in the marathon negotiations.
“The Senate just passed another major bipartisan, COVID-19 relief package. The American people can rest assured that more help is on the way, immediately,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, top Republican in the upper chamber, said in a tweet.