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US Senate passes $2 trillion relief package to counter economic effects of coronavirus outbreak

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Steve Mnuchin,Eric Ueland,Mark Meadows
Steve Mnuchin,Eric Ueland,Mark Meadows   -   Copyright  Patrick Semansky/AP Photo
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The US Senate unanimously passed unparalleled legislation to help businesses, workers and the health care system amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The $2 trillion (€1.85 trillion) pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue in history and is intended to help an economy moving towards recession.

The 880-page bill passed despite misgivings on both sides on whether or not it goes far enough.

The amount of money is half the size of the country's annual federal budget.

White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland announced the agreement shortly after midnight Tuesday night at the US Capitol.

“After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky.

"This is a wartime level investment into our nation," he added.

Chuck Schumer, the democratic minority leader hailed the "bipartisan" deal that he said was necessary but said the legislation was "far from perfect".

The rescue package is larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act. It would give adults in the US a direct check of $1,200 (€1,108) per adult making up to $75,000 (€68,505) a year and $2,400 (€2,192) to a married couple making up to $150,000 (€137,000), with $500 (€462) payments per child.

The effort expands unemployment benefits and helps small businesses.

It includes over $130 billion (€120 billion) to fund hospitals, nurses, doctors and nursing homes and unemployment compensation for workers who are laid off, the Senate minority leader said. Additional money will fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The legislation now has to be passed in Congress and signed by US President Donald Trump.

A European stimulus of €750 billion was announced last week that will allow the European Central Bank to buy government and private company debt to help the economy during the outbreak.