KEY POINTS

  • Senate passed the coronavirus stimulus package late Wednesday night
  • Bill now heads to Congress, which is expected to pass it early Friday
  • U.S. so far has more than 69,170 coronavirus cases including 1,050 deaths

The U.S. Sanate passed a $2 billion stimulus package Wednesday night as lawmakers finally put aside their differences, which had delayed voting on the bill by more than 48 hours, to help the federal government rescue the economy from a recession.

The bill now heads to the House and lawmakers in the chamber are pushing to pass it by Friday morning.

The 96-0 vote came nearly a day after Senate Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had announced an agreement on the same after days of intense negotiations.

The bill includes measures such as direct payments to individuals and stronger unemployment insurance as well as credit support for businesses reeling from the lockdown. Jobless claims had already spiked in last week's data and is expected to rise sharply again in data due Thursday (March 26).

Jobless_Claims_Coronavirus- March 19 Weekly initial jobless claims in the United States (seasonally adjusted). Photo: Statista / IBT

“This is a proud moment for the United States Senate and for the country and we’re going to win this battle in the very near future,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the  vote.

Data compiled by the John Hopkins University shows that the U.S. is now number three in the world in coronavirus infections, after China and Italy. As of 12.30 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday (March 26) the U.S. has recorded more than 69,170 cases and more than 1,050 deaths.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the $2 trillion package needed because the US is on "wartime footing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the $2 trillion package needed because the US is on "wartime footing" Photo: AFP / Alex Edelman