07:06 GMT29 March 2020
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    The US Senate and House of Representatives have both voted in favor of passing legislation that would expand paid leave and assist in providing unemployment insurance to the American people amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

    The economic relief bill, which passed in the Senate with a final vote of 90-8 (60 votes needed to advance), now heads to the desk of US President Donald Trump for his signature to sign the matter into law. 

    The legislation passed by Congress guarantees free testing for the novel coronavirus, provides additional funding for government nutrition assistance programs, expands unemployment insurance and grants businesses with 500 employees or less the ability to offer two weeks paid sick leave to workers. 

    Despite opposition toward the bill from some GOP members of Congress regarding the legislation's impact on small businesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed earlier Wednesday that he would vote for the plan, even with its "real shortcomings," reported CNBC. 

    “I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers," McConnell said. 

    McConnell explained that the "imperfections" of the bill now passed by the Senate "will just make our more comprehensive package even more urgent." He noted that Congress will remain in Washington, DC, until that relief to small businesses is granted. 

    According to the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a total of 7,038 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US, with all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands reporting presence of the contagious disease. At the time of this article's publication the novel coronavirus has caused the deaths of at least 97 individuals in the US.

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    Tags:
    House of Representatives, Mitch McConnell, sick leave, economic stimulus, federal government, Congress, US Senate, Donald Trump, coronavirus, COVID-19
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