US Lawmakers Approve $900 Billion Coronavirus Aid Package

The U.S. Congress has passed a massive year-end bill that includes both a $900 billion coronavirus aid package as well as $1.4 trillion in annual government funding.Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the measure with overwhelming support late Monday, with lawmakers having only a few hours to look over the more than 5,000-page bill.  They were facing a midnight deadline to keep the U.S. government funded.President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.The legislation comes after weeks of negotiations during which Democratic and Republican leaders clashed over how much government assistance to provide for coronavirus relief and whether the focus should be on items such as jobless benefits or keeping open the economy.Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters on an agreement of a COVID-19 aid package with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Capitol Hill Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2020.“There will be another major rescue package for the American people,” McConnell said in a statement Sunday. “As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone.”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the relief bill is just a first step.“It is not the end of the story, it is not the end of the job,” Schumer told reporters. “Anyone who thinks this bill is enough does not know what’s going on in America.”President-elect Joe Biden praised the bipartisan spirit that produced the measure, which he called “just the beginning.”Work on the bill was stalled by disagreements between Democrats and Republicans about key issues for both sides. It does not include the legal liability protections for businesses that Republicans sought, nor did it have extra aid for state and local governments that Democrats wanted.The total $1.4 trillion spending package funds the U.S. government through September.It includes an extension of tax breaks for numerous businesses for at least the next year, $45 billion for transportation needs including Amtrak, and $13 billion for a major expansion in food stamps.  



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