Congress votes on new economic aid package

The House and Senate are voting on Monday on a $ 900 billion coronavirus economic aid package that lawmakers were able to agree on after lengthy negotiations.

Democratic and Republican leaders have argued for weeks about how much aid should be provided and what issues should be given special attention.

Senate and House leaders said on Sunday that the package includes direct payments to the public of $ 600 and an unemployment benefit supplement of $ 300 a week, which will be in effect for 11 weeks.

The new bill also calls for a $ 284 billion program to help businesses keep jobs.

It is also proposed to allocate $ 82 billion to schools and universities, $ 25 billion for a tenant assistance program, $ 15 billion for theaters, $ 10 billion for childcare and another $ 4 billion to help other countries get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“There will be another big package to help the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday. “Our citizens who continue to fight the coronavirus during the holidays will not have to fight alone.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill was just a first step.

“This is not the end of the story, this is not the end of the job,” Schumer told reporters. “Anyone who thinks this bill is enough doesn’t know what’s going on in America.”

President-elect Joe Biden spoke in the same vein: he welcomed the announcement of an agreement on the aid package, but stressed that “the work is far from complete.”

“Congress needs to start working right from the start of the new year to support our plan to fight COVID-19, support families in need, and invest in jobs and economic recovery. There will be no time to waste, ”he said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has not yet commented on the agreement reached.

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