Washington, Mar 26: A last-minute row has delayed a vote in Congress on a $2tn (£1.7tn) coronavirus disaster aid bill that is the largest economic stimulus in US history, according to a report by the BBC on Thursday.
Republican and Democratic senators have been arguing over jobless benefits in the massive spending legislation. The plan includes direct payments of $1,200 to most American adults and aid to help small businesses pay their workers.
President Trump, had said on Wednesday he would sign the fast-tracked bill as soon as it reached his desk. But Republican senators Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham said its major expansion of jobless benefits provided "a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work".
They said they would oppose the bill unless it fixed the clause to ensure that workers could not have a higher income while unemployed than when they were working.
Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders said he would oppose the bill unless the Republicans dropped their objections, while demanding tougher conditions on the legislation's "corporate welfare".
The bill has cross-party support, but it must still be voted through the Senate and House of Representatives before the president signs it into law. Despite the eleventh-hour dispute, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the White House on Wednesday: "Our expectation is this bill passes tonight and gets to the House tomorrow."
In the US coronavirus related deaths is fast approaching the 1,000 mark with nearly 70,000 confirmed cases, making it one of the worst affected countries in the world and is staring at a major recession due to the pandemic. (UNI)