US Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill

People wear face masks as they walk down a street in New York City in this March 2, 2020 file picture. — Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON — The US Senate on Wednesday passed a whopping $2 trillion bill to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The bill, considered to be largest stimulus package in the US history, aims to support unemployed workers and industries impacted by the deadly virus, as well as to provide billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment.

The vote on the bill, which was eventually approved unanimously, was delayed by a last-minute dispute between Republican and Democratic senators over unemployment benefits.

President Donald Trump, whose top aides helped negotiate the bipartisan measure, promised to sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. “I will sign it immediately,” Trump said on Wednesday, according to a Reuters report.

Senate leaders noted the historic nature of the challenge posed by the coronavirus and hailed the passage of the bill.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was "proud" that not a single senator voted against the bill.

The chamber's senior Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, said: "And so this is a good ending, twists and turns were enormous. I always had faith we would (pass this bill) because America and the American people demanded it."

The approval of relief package comes as the US reels from the deadly virus that has already killed more than 900 Americans and infected at least 60,000. — Agencies