Sat | Mar 28, 2020

US Senate passes $2.2T coronavirus aid plan, House votes Friday

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 9:38 AM
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed a mammoth $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented response amid record new jobless claims and mounting evidence that the economy is in a recession.

The unanimous Senate vote late Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.

Thursday brought grim economic news as the government reported 3.3 million new weekly unemployment claims, four times the previous record, fresh evidence that the US is sinking into recession as coronavirus isolation steps have led to business closures.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a televised interview that the economy “may well be in a recession.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swung behind the bipartisan agreement, saying it “takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people.”

The measure is set for House passage on Friday and President Donald Trump’s immediate signature.

The package is intended as a relief for a sinking economy and a nation facing a grim toll from an infection that’s killed more than 21,000 people worldwide.

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