After months of wrangling the US Congress has agreed a deal on a $900 billion coronavirus relief package.
The agreement was announced by Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican majority in the Senate.
“We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time: More help is on the way,” he said. “There will be another major rescue package for the American people.”
Details of the deal are still unclear, but the comes with the US reeling under a renewed surge of Covid-19 and sweeping lockdowns across the country bringing the economy grinding to a halt.
According to one estimate nearly eight million people have fallen below the poverty line since June.
However it is understood that the deal will see direct $600 (£447) cash payments to Americans, additional support for those whose jobs were lost as a result of the pandemic.
Cash will also be found to support small businesses, schools, hospitals and vaccine distribution.
The agreement will see financial support for millions of Americans who have been laid off. The picture was especially grim in the hospitality industry with restaurants.
Many were forced to close. Others were able to offer outside dining, which ceased to be a viable option as the winter set in.
The agreement will also see supplementary unemployment benefit programmes, introduced when the pandemic first devastated the US economy, continue.
They were due to lapse next week unless Congress acted.
The deal was reached with another government shutdown only hours away.
It marks the end of months of deadlock between the parties with the Republicans baulking at Democrat demands for a far bigger relief package.
“Our purpose has always been to crush the virus and put money into Americans’ pockets,” said Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
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