Pelosi says Democrats have reached deal with Trump on coronavirus aid bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the House of Representatives have reached a deal with President Donald Trump’s administration on a coronavirus aid package and will soon pass it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.

“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass” the bill, Pelosi said in a statement.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating since Thursday on a multi-billion dollar package that aims to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic, which has infected 138,000 people worldwide, killed more than 5,000 and shuttered schools, sports arenas, theaters and offices.

The bill would provide for free coronavirus testing and two weeks of paid sick and family leave for those affected by the virus, according to a summary released by Pelosi’s office.

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The measure would expand safety-net programs that help people weather economic downturns, including low-income schoolchildren who risk losing access to free breakfast and lunch if their schools are shuttered.

Federal support for Medicaid would also be increased, giving states a cushion to fund the low-income health insurance program that Trump has repeatedly tried to scale back.

Pelosi did not say whether the bill includes the $1 trillion payroll tax cut that Trump has sought. Republicans and Democrats alike have shown little enthusiasm for that proposal.

Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress have waited to hear from Trump before weighing in on the measure. Pelosi does not need their support to pass the bill out of the House, but it would probably not get far in the Republican-controlled Senate without bipartisan support.

The two sides have struggled to find common ground after quickly passing an $8.3 billion bill last week to pay for vaccine research and other disease-fighting measures.

Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, freeing up $50 billion in federal aid.

Pelosi said the House will begin work on a third emergency package after passing this one.

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