US Senate passes $2tn stimulus package against COVID-19


Washington, March 26 The US Senate has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in an effort to combat the economic fallout in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The package was passed on Wednesday night after rounds of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, reports Xinhua news agency.

The upper chamber passed the bill in a 96-0 vote, well above the 60-vote threshold.

The package needs to be approved by the House of Representatives, before being sent to President Donald Trump's for his signature.

The bill, aimed at cushioning the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, will provide small businesses emergency loans, business tax breaks, expanded unemployment benefits, $1,000-plus direct payments for working Americans, government aid for industries such as airlines and hotels, as well as more support for hospitals and state and local governments.

Calling it an "emergency relief", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said at the Senate floor earlier in the day that the package will "help the people of this country weather this storm".

The development comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the US has increased to 69,018 with 1,042 deaths, according to the latest update by the Washington-based John Hopkins University.

New York, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country, has reported 280 fatalities 17,856 cases.