The U.S. Senate is meeting in a rare Saturday meeting to finalize a $ 900 billion legislative package by midnight Sunday to help Americans struggling after the massive medical and economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the largest aid package since the spring, when Congress approved over $ 4 trillion in aid. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of 311,000 Americans, more than anywhere else in the world. Millions of people were out of work. Economists estimate that economic growth is likely to be slow until vaccines are widely available in mid-2021.
“We remain in the midst of a serious national crisis,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said opening the Senate session. He called on lawmakers to postpone the controversy and finalize the bill.
“There are special points of attraction in Congress, and if we are not careful, any serious negotiations can easily slip into an endless list of differences. Let’s beware of this, ”McConnell said.
“We need to take these measures with a lot of bipartisan support and immediately give them the force of law,” he added.
Although negotiations are ongoing, a vote on the package is not expected until Sunday afternoon.
Republicans and Democrats say they are close to an agreement, but negotiations ran into a new stumbling block later this week when some Republicans, led by Senator Pat Toomey, began pushing for restrictions on the Fed’s lending to midsize businesses and municipal bond issuers designed to ease the burden. pandemics.