The US House of Representatives has passed an $US892 billion ($A1.2 trillion) coronavirus aid package aimed at throwing a lifeline to the nation’s pandemic-battered economy, clearing the way for Senate approval later in the evening.
The House in a pair of bipartisan votes on Monday also passed a $US1.4 trillion ($A1.8 trillion) measure that will keep the US government funded for another year, which will also go to the Senate for consideration.
The relief bill, which would become law if passed by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, includes $US600 payments to most Americans as well as additional payments to the millions of people thrown out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, just as a larger round of benefits is due to expire on Saturday.
The White House has said Trump will sign the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, urged lawmakers to support the virus relief bill even as she complained it did not include the direct aid for state and local governments that Democrats had sought.
She said they would try for it again next year after Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The bill, she said, “doesn’t go all the way but it takes us down the path”.
Republican Representative Hal Rogers, who supported the package, said “it reflects a fair compromise”.
Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters at the Capitol that passage of the legislation in the Senate would “probably be late, but we’re going to finish tonight”.
At 5593 pages, the wide-ranging bill is likely to be the final major piece of legislation for the 116th Congress that expires on January 3.
It has a net cost of roughly $US350 billion ($A460 billion) for coronavirus relief, McConnell said, adding that more than $US500 billion ($A565 billion) in funding comes from unspent money Congress had authorised.
The stimulus package, the first congressionally approved aid since April, comes as the pandemic is accelerating in the United States, infecting more than 214,000 people every day and slowing the economic recovery. More than 317,000 Americans have died.
The legislation also expands a small-business lending program by about $US284 billion ($A372 billion) and steers money to schools, airlines, transit systems and vaccine distribution.
State and local governments, which are struggling to pay for the distribution of newly approved COVID-19 vaccines, would receive $US8.75 billion ($A11.5 billion) from Washington, with $300 million ($A393 million) of that targeted at vaccinations in minority and high-risk populations.