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$600 direct payments to most Americans as deal struck on almost $1 trillion in economic relief

The final agreement is the largest spending measure yet.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer
Image: Susan Walsh/PA Images

CAPITOL HILL NEGOTIATORS have sealed a deal on an almost $1 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package in the United States.

The agreement delivers extra help to businesses and individuals and provides money to deliver vaccines across the US.

The agreement, announced by Senate leaders, would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and $600 direct stimulus payments to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, healthcare providers and renters facing eviction.

The House was expected to vote on the legislation today, said a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

The House would pass a one-day stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown at midnight yesterday. The Senate was likely to vote today too.

“There will be another major rescue package for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in announcing the agreement for a relief bill that would total almost $900 billion.

“It is packed with targeted policies to help struggling Americans who have already waited too long.”

A breakthrough came late on Saturday in a fight over Federal Reserve emergency powers that was resolved by the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, and conservative Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. That led to a final round of negotiations.

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The final agreement is the largest spending measure yet. It combines Covid-19 relief with a $1.4 trillion government-wide funding plan and lots of other unrelated measures on taxes, health, infrastructure and education.

Passage is nearing as coronavirus cases and deaths spike and evidence piles up that the economy is struggling.

It would be the first significant legislative response to the pandemic since the $1.8 trillion CARES Act passed virtually unanimously in March.

The legislation was held up by months of dysfunction, posturing and bad faith. But talks turned serious last week as lawmakers on both sides finally faced the deadline of acting before leaving Washington for Christmas.

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