US Congress Approves $1.4 Trillion Spending Package That Includes $900 Billion in COVID-19 Relief
The US House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a $1.4 trillion federal spending package for 2021 that includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief.
The two houses of Congress passed the legislation Monday night. It will now be sent to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law.
The COVID-19 relief package includes $300 weekly unemployment benefits, as well as $600 stimulus checks for qualifying adults and children in the United States.
Moreover, the legislation includes $696 billion for defense spending and renews a $290 million budget for “countering Russian influence fund.”
The bill also includes $275 million in security assistance to Ukraine in addition to $453 million in aid to the country for other activities not related to defense. The legislation also includes $132 million in aid to Georgia.
The legislation also provides $15.35 billion for US nuclear weapons activities, an increase of $2.9 billion above the 2020 level, to maintain nuclear deterrence and to fund Research and Development capabilities.
The legislation also includes $710 million for efforts to counter the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia), including support for the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the Islamic State terrorist group.
A separate summary of the bill states that no funds from the 2021 spending package will be used to exercise the United States’ control over any oil resources in Iraq or Syria.
The bill also provides $160 million for programs with countries in the Africa Command area of responsibility, $56 million above the budget request. It also provides $120 million for programs with countries in the Southern Command area of responsibility, $46 million above the budget request.
On Sunday, the US Congress agreed on a new bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill of around $900 billion, attached to a broader $1.4 trillion omnibus which will fund the federal government for the 2021 fiscal year.
In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dispensing $3 trillion as paycheck protection for workers, loans and grants for businesses and other personal aid for qualifying citizens and residents.
In the past few months, however, Democrats and Republicans were locked in a bitter disagreement about a successive relief plan to the CARES Act. The stalemate appeared broken at the start of December, after a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans proposed a $908 billion relief bill, which prompted the two sides to resume negotiations.