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Senate, White House agree on $2.9 trillion aid package

WASHINGTON: The Senate and White House have reached an agreement on a US$2 trillion (S$2.9 trillion) stimulus package for the US economy and millions of Americans ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, top lawmakers said yesterday.

"At last, we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, hailing the massive "wartime-level of investment into our nation" reached after five days of arduous and tense negotiations.

"We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said shortly after Mr McConnell spoke.

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The Senate and House of Representatives still need to pass the legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The deal aims to buttress the teetering economy by giving roughly US$2 trillion to health facilities, businesses and ordinary Americans buckling under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure will put cash directly into the hands of Americans hard hit by the crisis, provide grants to small businesses and hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for larger corporations including airlines, and expand unemployment benefits.

It will also inject some US$130 billion into what Mr Schumer calls "a Marshall Plan for hospitals" and health care infrastructure, referring to the huge American aid programme to rebuild Europe after World War II. - AFP

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