GOP, Democrats Reportedly Reach Agreement Clearing the Path for COVID Relief Package Vote

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteThe US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018.
The US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018. - Sputnik International
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The bill is being touted as a massive lifeline amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the US, where the disease has already claimed the lives of more than 307,000 people.

The Wall Street Journal has cited aides from the Democratic and Republican parties as saying they've reached a deal on the Federal Reserve's emergency lending powers, paving the way to adopting a $900 billion coronavirus-relief package.

The agreenent stipulates that Fed Reserve will retain its authority to set up emergency programmes without getting a go-ahead by Congress.

A vote on the bill may take place later on Sunday, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The statement follows efforts by Republican and Democratic negotiators in the US Congress to greenlight a hefty deal on a coronavirus relief package to shore up Americans hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also involved in the talks are representatives of the Trump administration.

The $900 billion bailout agreement stipulates providing one-time stimulus payments of about $600 to individuals, as well as subsidies to small businesses, $300-per-week benefits for unemployed, and vaccine distribution funding.

Earlier this week, Sсhumer insisted  "the finish line [of the negotiations] is in sight".

"Everyone wants to get this done. Let's push through the few final metres and deliver the outcome that the American people very much need", he told the Senate on Thursday.

COVID-19 Relief Package Bill

The bill is based on a bipartisan stimulus package proposal worth $908 billion earlier initiated by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy, and Mitt Romney, as well as their Democratic counterparts Joe Manchin, Mark Warner, Richard Durbin, and Jeanne Shaheen.

The sides have repeatedly been at loggerheads over the proposal. In early December, GOP Senator John Thune suggested that funding for coronavirus vaccines and treatment, additional assistance for unemployment insurance and schools, as well as money to replenish the Paycheck Protection Programme of forgivable loans were all matters of bipartisan consensus.

"Those are all things that the Democrats say that they agree upon, but they have insisted - at least up until now - on a 'bloated' messaging bill on the order of $2.5 trillion... which is something that obviously wouldn't pass the Senate and get signed into law by the president”, he said.

Nurses wearing protective masks and protective suits, work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated at the Le Bois private hospital in Lille, France, October 28, 2020 - Sputnik International
US to Pay Hundreds of Millions for Questionable COVID-19 Antibody Treatment
In late March, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill, the largest such package in modern US history.

The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in the country remains tense, with more than 17.6 million confirmed cases and over 316,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest estimates.

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