Sweeping economic aid bill to counter coronavirus passes Senate – By Jennifer Shutt (Roll Call) / March 26 2020
Package now heads to House where members are expected to vote Friday
The Senate voted Wednesday night to send the House a massive financial relief package to tide the U.S. economy and its strained health care sector over for the next few months as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate across the country.
The vote followed days of arduous negotiations between Trump administration officials and Democrats, as they sought a bipartisan agreement that would provide direct financial assistance to individual Americans, expand unemployment insurance and help small businesses that have closed to try to reduce the spread of the disease.
The aid bill also includes substantial funding to help hospitals and doctors prepare for a wave of patients and funding for government departments working to reduce the virus’s impact.
The 96-0 vote came shortly after Senate leaders finally released official legislative text Wednesday night around 10:15 p.m., following a long day of “final drafts” circulating throughout Washington.
The bill now goes to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it will be taken up on Friday after the chamber reconvenes at 9 a.m. Democratic leaders signaled they’d try to clear the package by voice vote.