Washington, March 6 (AFP/APP): US Democrats reached a compromise late Friday on key elements of President Joe Biden’s massive Covid-19 relief package, breaking a logjam and setting the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill on a path towards a final vote.
Negotiations in the evenly divided Senate had frozen the chamber’s action for some nine hours, with concern mounting that Democratic unity was fraying and imperiling the huge measure, before the breakthrough.
Votes on more amendments to the bill were set to occur through the night Friday and into Saturday, with a final vote expected some time this weekend. The breakthrough came against a backdrop of strong US economic data signalling that the world’s largest economy may finally be healing.
They included better-than-expected hiring in February as businesses battered by the pandemic began recruiting employees again. Payrolls jumped by 379,000 last month, which was almost double expectations and pushed the unemployment rate down slightly to 6.2 percent, the Labor Department reported.
The vast majority of the gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector, which was devastated in the pandemic’s early months. Yet the economy was still short 9.5 million jobs compared to February 2020, before the pandemic began, the report said.
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