The US Senate unanimously approved a plan on Wednesday “historical“$ 2,000 billion to support the world’s largest economy, asphyxiated by the coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed more than 1,000 lives in the United States.
Supported by President Donald Trump and fruit of bitter negotiations between senators and the White House, this text “historical“, according to its negotiators, was adopted with the support of all Democrats and Republicans present (96 for and 0 votes against).
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The plan has yet to be approved by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in a vote scheduled for Friday before being promulgated by the President.
“I encourage the House to approve this vital text and to send the bill to me without delay to be proclaimed. I will sign it immediately“Donald Trump said earlier on Wednesday at a press conference.
“We need to get this money going through the American economy and send it to American workers“added his treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led negotiations with Congress.
These measures include sending direct aid to Americans, up to $ 1,200 per adult and $ 500 per child, for households earning less than $ 150,000 per year.
Great demand from Democrats, unemployment benefits have also been significantly increased and the self-employed will be able to benefit from them.
The text includes around 500 billion in loans and aid for companies and key sectors, including almost 30 billion in aid to the air sector (passengers and freight).
The plan also includes $ 100 billion for hospitals, overwhelmed by the epidemic.
New York, epicenter
As senators voted on Wednesday, the United States has surpassed the 1,000 death mark caused by the new coronavirus, with nearly 70,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, which refers to.
The United States now ranks third among countries for the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 disease, behind Italy and China. And according to the World Health Organization, they could soon overtake Europe to become the new global epicenter of the pandemic.
More than half of Americans are called to stay at home, with more or less strict containment measures depending on the state.
Through a system of alerts sent to residents’ mobile phones, the federal capital Washington has announced the closure of non-essential services (gyms, hairdressers, shops …) from Wednesday evening until April 24 .
The city of Miami, Florida, where the beaches were still crowded last week, forced its 470,000 residents on Tuesday not to go out. The streets were empty and the coast closed on Wednesday.
“It may sound strange but I was waiting for this moment“Rosa Jimenez-Cano, a 39-year-old resident, told AFP.”This measure is necessary“.
New York State, cultural and economic lung of the country, is the most affected but the measures of containment and social distancing seem to slow down the epidemic, assured its governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Arrows point in the right direction“, he said during a press briefing, referring to a slowdown in the increase in hospitalizations.
But the peak of the epidemic is expected within three weeks, he added.
This state of nearly 20 million inhabitants continues to demand from the federal government medical equipment, including thousands of respirators.
The roughly $ 3 billion allocated to New York State through the emergency plan is “a drop in the ocean“losses, estimated up to 15 billion dollars, underlined Mr. Cuomo.
Media and “real people”
Donald Trump now wants to put the country back to work to restart the machine despite the reservations of many scientists and local officials who fear a possible new wave of contamination.
The Republican billionaire based his entire re-election campaign on the good health of the American economy.
A “severe recession or depression“The economy could kill more people than the epidemic, he said on Tuesday.
He mentioned a symbolic date, April 12, Easter Sunday, for the resumption of activity in a part of the country.
“Real people want to go back to work as soon as possible“he insisted on Twitter Wednesday, accusing mainstream media of being”the dominant force which tries to force it to keep the country closed for as long as possible in the hope that this will harm its re-election“.