Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th Mar, 2020 ) :The US Senate unanimously passed the nation’s largest-ever rescue package late Wednesday, a $2 trillion lifeline to suffering Americans, critically depleted hospitals and an economy all ravaged by a rapidly spreading coronavirus crisis.
The measure cleared the Senate 96-0 after days of tumultuous, sometimes bitter negotiations and debate, as the US death toll for the pandemic soared past 1,000, with 68,000 confirmed infections.
“Let us tell them tonight that help is on the way, that they are not truly alone, that this country, that this Senate, that this government is here for them in a time of dire need,” top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said moments before the vote.
“Let us marshal this government into action.” The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where a Democratic leader said he expected it to pass by voice vote Friday before it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The monster package, thrashed out between Republicans, Democrats and the White House, provides direct cash payments to millions of hurting American taxpayers, amounting to $3,400 for an average American family of four.
It also surges $100 billion of desperately needed resources for hospitals and other health facilities in dire need of medical equipment, and dramatically expands unemployment benefits to help workers sickened by coronavirus or laid off during the crisis.
The state has around 30,000 confirmed cases, he added, with 285 deaths.
“The arrows are headed in the right direction,” Cuomo told reporters.
“We need to get this money into the American economy and (to) American workers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
Over half the US population is now under some form of lockdown as authorities nationwide seek to stem the outbreaks.
Birmingham, Alabama and Charlotte, North Carolina have become the latest major US cities to order residents to stay indoors.
– ‘Wartime’ investment – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has hailed the “wartime level of investment” in the nation.
It dwarfs the bailouts of 2008, when a worldwide financial crisis sent the US economy into a tailspin.
With infections rising, the Senate bill’s injection for hospitals could be among the bill’s most effective element in fighting the pandemic, as it will help facilities restock protective gear, intensive care beds and ventilators and other medical equipment.
Trump had voiced hope Tuesday that the country could begin to reopen in a few weeks, but his top infectious disease advisor, Anthony Fauci, said the timetable would need to remain “very flexible.” Trump faces a re-election battle this year, and his campaign has been upended by the pandemic.
He said Tuesday that social distancing had caused too much pain to the economy, adding that he wanted the country “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which is April 12.