WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate approved what may well be the largest relief package in U.S. history.
The approximately $2 trillion bill is aimed at easing the economic hardships Americans are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maine’s junior Senator Angus King says the 96-0 vote to pass the bill should show Americans “that occasionally this creaky old system of ours can work.”
The Maine Independent says the bill included money for low income heating assistance programs, half a trillion dollars for healthcare and higher unemployment checks for workers.
“The typical weekly unemployment benefit in Maine right now is something like $368 dollars a week. That’s going to go to $968. In other words, a $600 bump,” Sen. King said.
The relief package also provides assistance to small businesses, which have been ordered closed during the state of civil emergency.
Despite advice from medical advisors, President Donald Trump said recently he would like to see businesses reopen soon after Easter, which is Sunday, April 12.
“I think Easter, frankly, is going to be too early,” King said. “I think we’re still going to be in the throes of this thing. Some parts of the country will be at the height of it.”
The relief package still needs the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to vote on the measure Friday.
It could be signed by the president soon after passage.