The US Senate has approved a 1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package which aims at helping workers and families who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The bill is President Joe Biden's first major financial package. It provides direct payments of up to 1,400 dollars and extension of emergency unemployment benefits till September.
It was approved by 50 to 49 votes along the party line.
Ordinarily a budget bill needs the support of three fifths of the senate, but the Democrats first adopted a resolution to approve the bill with a simple majority.
Biden had called on Senate Republicans to support the bill to implement the measures as soon as possible.
But Republicans did not budge. They wanted a smaller package underscoring the need of fiscal restraint.
With some amendments, the bill will be sent back to the House of Representatives. It is expected to be signed by Biden and will become a law by mid-March.
The president called the passage of the bill "one more giant step forward" as he talked to reporters at the White House on Saturday.
He noted that everything in the package is designed to meet people's needs, to relieve suffering and to help the country prevail.
He added that he hopes to sign off on the bill soon.