US Congress to vote on virus stimulus deal after lawmakers reach agreement

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 20, 2020, 12:10 PM(IST)

US Senate Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Congressional leaders plan to attach the coronavirus aid package, which includes $600 direct payments to individuals and a $300 per week unemployment compensation supplement, to a $1.4 trillion spending bill funding government programmes through September 2021.

Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate have struck a late-night compromise to clear one of the final hurdles, a dispute over Federal Reserve pandemic lending authorities.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a vote on the $900 billion package is now expected on Sunday.

Congressional leaders plan to attach the coronavirus aid package, which includes $600 direct payments to individuals and a $300 per week unemployment compensation supplement, to a $1.4 trillion spending bill funding government programmes through September 2021. A 48-hour funding extension expires at midnight on Sunday (0500 GMT Monday), after which the government would shut down.

Republicans had said the programmes are an unnecessary government interference in private business that politicises the Fed. They accused Democrats of seeking to extend them into 2021 as a backdoor way to provide unchecked funds for state and local governments controlled by members of their party.

Democrats in turn accused the Republicans of trying to tie the Fed's hands in order to limit Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's options for boosting the flagging economy after he takes office on January 20.

The Senate had adjourned a rare Saturday session with a call from Republican leader Mitch McConnell to avoid last-minute disagreements that could delay new funding for Americans and small businesses.

In the 11 months since the first cases of the new coronavirus were documented in the United States, COVID-19 has killed 311,000 Americans, by far the most in the world.

(with inputs)

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