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File photo. Joe Biden.

Biden says 'help is on the way' as almost $1 trillion relief package speeds through US Congress

The bill approving the stimulus now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

THE US CONGRESS has passed a $900 billion (€736 billion) relief package to deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

The relief package, unveiled yesterday afternoon, sped through the House and Senate in a matter of hours.

The Senate cleared the massive package by a 92-6 vote after the House approved the Covid-19 package by another lopsided vote, 359-53.

The tallies were a bipartisan coda to months of partisanship as politicians wrangled over the relief question, a logjam that broke after President-elect Joe Biden urged his party to accept a compromise with top Republicans that is smaller than many Democrats would have liked.

The bill, which also covers $1.4 trillion (€1.15 trillion) to fund other government operations, goes to US President Donald Trump for his signature, which is expected in the coming days.

It combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses, and would establish a temporary $300 (€245) per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 (€490) direct stimulus payment to most Americans.

Also included are a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theatres and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

The 5,593-page legislation – by far the longest bill ever – came together on Sunday after months of battling, posturing and post-election negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached.

Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted in the autumn.

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