The biggest ever spending plan in US history had been knocked back by Democratic objections to the Republican plan, which was decried as a “slush fund” for bosses.
But party leaders overcame their differences to clinch a “wartime level of investment into our nation”, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
The package will put cash directly into the hands of Americans, provides grants to small businesses and hundr of billions of dollars in loans for larger corporations including airlines, and expands unemployment benefits.
The Fed has kept up near-daily announcements to keep dollars flowing, in addition to slashing its main lending rate to near zero.
On Monday, the Fed vowed to buy unlimited amounts of government debt — akin to printing money — and offered to lend directly to small- and medium-sized firms.
Some observers are demanding a collective response from the G7 and G20 to fight the pandemic, and help poorer nations who lack the borrowing capacity of their richer peers.
“King Salman will chair the meeting to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications,” said a Saudi statement early Wednesday.
Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), called for a “sizeable, credible, internationally coordinated effort” bigger even than the 1930s New Deal and the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II.
The European Union has suspended limits on members” debt and deficit levels.
Backed by France, hard-pressed Italy wants the EU to breach the ultimate taboo by allowing eurozone members to pool their debts and issue so-called coronabonds.
But in talks Tuesday, EU finance ministers failed to agree on such crisis measures.
The ECB, after being criticised for keeping interest rates on hold, last week announced a 750-billion-euro scheme to buy government and corporate bonds, so circulating huge amounts of cheap cash.
Like the Fed, the BoJ is intervening directly by buying up exchange-traded funds, which has lifted the Nikkei share index this week. (AFP) SCY
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