The United States Senate has approved a 1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief plan. US President Biden says it will give families struggling to pay their bills the breathing room that they need. The rescue package narrowly made it through the chamber – as one Democrat threatened to vote against it. But that was prevented with some last-minute tweaks to the bill, and the decision ultimately went down party lines.
Democrats were jubilant as the legislation finally passed. After a lengthy debate, and the longest vote in Senate history, not one Republican backed the stimulus package.
The final bill includes 400 billion dollars’ worth of one-off payments to America’s taxpayers. It also continues the weekly 300-dollar payment to those thrown out of work in the crisis. And there’s 350 billion dollars in aid to state and local governments that have seen the pandemic blow a hole in their budgets.
For thousands of residents who have been relying on food hand-outs for a year now, the aid package can’t come soon enough.
It’s the first major legislation to pass through the Senate under President Joe Biden.
The bill now needs to clear the House of Representatives, where the Democrats hold a slightly stronger majority.