The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2-trillion stimulus bill on Wednesday (March 25) aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment.
The divided Senate came together to vote 96 to 0.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "I'm proud to announce tonight not a single senator voted against this two trillion dollar rescue bill to save American individuals, small businesses, larger businesses, and to provide considerable funding for the healthcare workers and the scientists and the doctors and others who are trying to solve this pandemic.
It's the largest rescue package in American history.
Included in the stimulus package: Direct payments of up to $3000 to US families.
Up to $500 billion in for distressed industries, including hard-hit airlines.
Businesses owned by President Trump, other administration officials and members of Congress are not eligible for assistance.
$250 billion to expand unemployment aid.
$100 billion for hospitals and related health systems. And $350 billion for small-business loans.
The stimulus package amounts to nearly half of what the U.S. government spends annually.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was overjoyed about passing the bill.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER, CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "I always had faith we would because America and the American people demanded it." "And so when we passed this bill, on the floor of the Senate, we didn't hug each other, we just waved from a distance." It is intended to flood the economy with cash to stem the impact of an intensifying epidemic - that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000.
Trump also told reporters on Wednesday he would sign it into law as soon as it reached his desk.