7 March 2021, Washington
US President Joe Biden’s relief bill aimed at helping Americans deal with the coronavirus pandemic impact has cleared a major hurdle, BBC has reported.
The $1.9tn plan was approved in the Senate despite every Republican senator voting against.
The House of Representatives is expected to approve it next Tuesday.
President Biden called the Senate vote as “one more giant step forward” in delivering the promise to help people, BBC said.
America’s worst public health crisis in a century has left nearly 523,000 people dead and 29 million infected, with a current unemployment rate of 6.2%, according to the report.
The relief package – the third in the US since the start of the pandemic – envisages one-off payments worth $1,400 to be sent to most Americans, it said.
President Biden said such payments could start being distributed later this month.
Republicans, meanwhile, say the plan is too costly.
Some Democrats have also voiced criticism of certain provisions and the party’s leadership was forced to make a number of compromises, notably the lowering of federal unemployment benefit from $400 to $300 a week, according to BBC.
(With inputs from BBC)