Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Congress has reached an agreement on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.
"As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own," McConnell tweeted early Sunday evening. "Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way."
Senators reached a compromise late Saturday night on a last-minute battle over the Federal Reserve's emergency lending powers. The bill will include a $300 per-week bonus in jobless benefits and a $600 direct payment to most Americans, an aid package that is smaller than Democrats and President-elect Joe Biden would like.
It also includes tens of billions of dollars to pay for distributing vaccines, help schools reopen, and bail out struggling transit systems and the Postal Service.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the upper chamber's top Democrat, said in a speech on the Senate floor on Sunday that "barring a major mishap," Congress will vote "as early as tonight."
"We have surmounted the final largest hurdle and an ending is in sight," he said. "Let's get the job done together for the sake of the American people."
The COVID-19 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.
If passed, the bill would be the first significant legislative response to the pandemic since the $1.8 trillion CARES Act passed virtually unanimously.
The measure was being added to a $1.4 trillion spending bill and combined with lots of other unfinished work, including previously stalled legislation to extend tax breaks, authorize water projects, and address the problem of surprise sky-high medical bills for out-of-network procedures.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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