White House and US Senate reach agreement on $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package
It is set to be the largest stimulus package in the history of the United States.
The United States Senate has reached a deal with the White House on a stimulus package worth $2 trillion to combat the economic impact of the Covid-19 virus.
The exact details of the package are still being finalised after confirmation that a deal had been reached arrived shortly before 1am (5am GMT) in Washington on Wednesday.
“We have a deal,” Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director, told reporters on Wednesday morning.
“We have either, clear, explicit legislative text reflecting all parties or we know exactly where we’re going to land on legislative text as we continue to finish.”
While the full text of the package will be revealed in due course, it is expected to provide direct payments of up to $1,200 to most adults, to expand unemployment insurance and to provide funds for small businesses to allow them to pay employees who have to stay at home.
The deal will now go the House of Representatives and to President Trump, who is expected to ratify it.
Confirmation of the package came about after lengthy negotiations between Senate officials and representatives of the Trump administration and comes after the president himself suggested he wants businesses in the United States to reopen and people to stop isolating "very soon".
The United States is currently in the middle of a 15-day period of preventative measures and social distancing to combat the Covid-19 virus, a period initiated by the White House to “slow the spread”.
Trump’s suggestion to reopen businesses and to stop isolating goes against the advice of medical experts, who say businesses need to close and workers stay home for several months in order to combat the spread of Covid-19.
"It’s bad, and obviously the numbers are going to increase with time and then they’re going to start to decrease,” the president said at a press conference earlier this week.
"We’re going to be opening our country up for business because our country was meant to be open and working with others."
"At a certain point we have to get open," Trump added.
"We have to get moving. We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem. At the end of the 15-day period, we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go."