US lower house approves $900 billion bailout package
Washington, Dec 21 (efe-epa).- The United States House of Representatives approved on Monday a $900 billion stimulus package to help battle the economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to surge in the US.
The house gave its approval to the rescue plan that includes direct payments of up to $600 for all Americans with annual incomes below $75,000, jobless benefits of $300 per week, some $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans, $25 billion in rental assistance and $82 billion for schools and colleges.
The bill now goes to the Senate, which plans to take it up for a vote on Monday.
The benefits of the package could be effective next week, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The stimulus package is included in a $1.4 trillion bill designed to finance the US administration until September 2021.
The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable small loans.
The US Congress has not passed any stimulus measure since March when it approved a $2 trillion rescue plan, the largest in the US history so far.
Democrats and Republicans announced the deal on Sunday night after months of negotiations to include the bailout in the 2021 spending bill.
Democrats tried to pass a new bailout of more than $ 3 trillion in the summer, but Republicans and the White House blocked that spending, and negotiations have failed several times since then.
President-elect Joe Biden has supported the $900 billion bailout plan, although he has warned that it is not enough and that more funds would be needed when he arrives at the White House in January.
Since the first cases were detected in the US 11 months ago, Covid-19 has killed nearly 327,00 people. The virus has infected 18.5 million Americans, more than in any other country in the world. EFE-EPA