In this photo shows the US Capitol in Washington. File/AFP
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.
"We have a deal," Ueland told reporters after days of negotiations on the package, expected to be worth $2 trillion.
The Senate's Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, was expected to speak on the Senate floor shortly about the agreement.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. It still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal,” Ueland said.
The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
The text of the pact was not expected to be available until later on Wednesday.
The package had been expected to include a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 to millions of US families, as well as $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and $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 defense, scientific research, highway construction and other discretionary programs.
The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced. The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in US history.
Like so much of the world, lawmakers are experiencing a humbling dose of fear, sorrow, anger and isolation. The result is a wide and deep imprint on the same Congress charged with helping a traumatised nation.
The global aviation industry has been hammered by the pandemic, as it is directly affected by border closures and population lockdowns.
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