US Congress has just reached an agreement on the long-awaited Covid-19 relief package, and lawmakers will pass the bill as soon as possible, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday afternoon.
The package would be the second-largest economic stimulus in U.S. history, following a $2.3 trillion aid bill passed in March. It comes as the pandemic accelerates, infecting more than 214,000 people in the country each day. More than 317,000 Americans have already died.
"At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed ... Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP," ," Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Jobless Payments Boosted by $300 a Week
The $900 billion relief plan under negotiation was set to include another round of direct payments for individuals, federal unemployment benefits, and more funding for Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses.
Under the package, there will be direct payments worth $600 to individuals. It will also see unemployment payments boosted by $300 a week. The stimulus package must be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
McConnell announced the agreement without offering details of the final package. Lawmakers could move to vote on the proposal as soon as Sunday night, along with a full-year government spending bill, according to a report.
Amid Covid-19 spikes, US economic recovery seems to be losing momentum, but Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been deadlocked for months over the size and scope of the next round of relief package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, top Democrat in the lower chamber, and McConnell have recently said that they want to attach the Covid-19 relief legislation to an omnibus funding bill.
Lawmakers previously passed stopgap funding bills to avert a government shutdown and provide lawmakers more time to negotiate a deal in Covid-19 relief and long-term government funding.