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Congress Approves Its Longest Bill Ever

The $900B COVID relief package
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 22, 2020 12:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package that would finally deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill and thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close the books on the year. The bill approved Monday night went to President Trump for his signature, which was expected in the coming days, the AP reports. The relief package, unveiled Monday afternoon, sped through the House and Senate in a matter of hours. The Senate cleared the massive package by a 92-6 vote after the House approved the COVID-19 package by another lopsided vote, 359-53.

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The bill combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses. It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction. The 5,593-page legislation—by far the longest bill ever—came together Sunday after months of battling, posturing, and post-election negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached. Congress also approved a one-week stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight and give Trump time to sign the sweeping legislation. (Here's when you might get your relief check.)

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