Congressional leaders reach agreement on COVID economic relief package

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miytch mcconnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following a weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus, Tuesday, Dec. 8. 2020 at the Capitol in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday said Democrats and Republicans have “finalized a deal” on a $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package. It’s unclear when they will vote on it, although the government is set to shut down if a deal is not reached by midnight.

“As our citizens continue battling this coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone,” McConnell said Sunday on the Senate floor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill includes $600 in direct payments and $300 a week in enhanced unemployment.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota said the bill will allow businesses to deduct Paycheck Protection Program loans, a provision that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had previously objected to.

The $900 billion relief bill includes direct payments to taxpayers, expanded unemployment benefits and hundreds of billions of dollars in pandemic-related aid.

The House and Senate convened Sunday afternoon and could vote on a relief and funding package by the end of the day. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told members to expect votes later in the day, and possibly “late into the evening.”

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