Congressional leaders on Wednesday closed in on an agreement on a coronavirus relief measure that could infuse the economy with as much as $900 billion, as they raced to complete both a pandemic aid package and a catchall federal spending measure before government funding lapses on Friday.
Top Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill appeared to be nearing a plan that would include both another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans and additional unemployment benefits, according to people familiar with the emerging compromise who described it on condition of anonymity.
While the details were not yet final, the plan was expected to also provide billions of dollars for vaccine distribution and to support schools and small businesses, but omit coronavirus liability protections long sought by Republicans and a dedicated funding stream for state and local governments insisted upon by Democrats — the two most contentious sticking points.
The contours of the deal, reported earlier by Politico, became clear after a flurry of late-night negotiations among the four House and Senate leaders and their staff on Capitol Hill. With Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, joining by phone, the four met twice on Tuesday in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite in the Capitol to work out the details.
“We committed to continuing these urgent discussions until there’s an agreement,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said Wednesday morning in a speech on the Senate floor.
It was unclear how large the direct payments would be, though the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted in March provided $1,200 per adult, and progressives and at least one conservative Republican have recently called for the…
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