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U.S. House, White House near agreement on virus economic aid bill, vote likely

imagePolitics14 minutes ago (Mar 13, 2020 02:36PM ET)

(C) Reuters. Ohio Clock Corridor outside the Senate Chamber sits empty as coronavirus outbreak halts Capitol Hill tours in Washington

By David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that the Democratic-controlled chamber would pass a coronavirus economic aid package, but it was unclear whether President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans would support it.

The package would provide for free coronavirus testing and two weeks of paid sick leave for those affected by the virus, she said.

Republicans and Democrats have struggled to agree on measures 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 and offices.

Republicans have not said whether they would vote for the measure. Pelosi does not need support from Trump’s Republicans to pass legislation out of the House. But it would probably not get far in the Republican-controlled Senate without bipartisan support.

The two sides are trying to hammer out an agreement on an economic aid package to follow the $8.3 billion Congress approved last week for vaccines and other disease-fighting measures.

Treasury Secretary Steven Munchkin, Trump’s point person on the issue, has proposed a variety of tax breaks, while Pelosi Democrats have called for expanding the safety net to help those who may lose work.

Trump has called for a $1 trillion payroll tax cut, which has drawn little enthusiasm from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Pelosi spoke about an hour before Trump was due to announce a national emergency, which would free up more funding.

U.S. House to pass coronavirus aid bill, Republican support unclear

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