Coronavirus aid vote coming 'one way or another' Friday, Pelosi says

Lawmakers promise a 'confidence builder'

Lawmakers are close to an agreement on a coronavirus stimulus bill -- called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act -- and a vote will come Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

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“It’s fair to say we are close to an agreement, subject to an exchange of paper, and hope to have an announcement tomorrow,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday night. The vote will come Friday “one way or another,” she added.

Pelosi mentioned paid sick leave, family medical leave, unemployment insurance, feeding children out of school, taking care of seniors and people with disabilities and coronavirus testing as targeted provisions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

"We are enabling the testing to happen," she said. "The most important thing is for us to be able to take measure of the challenge to our country....we want to do that working together."

The coronavirus bill will likely be handled as a “suspension,” FOX News reported. That means lawmakers will be able to bring the measure directly to the floor without having the Rules Committee meet first. However, the limited debate means the bill would require a two-thirds majority to pass.

Lawmakers didn’t share specific details of the bill but Richard Neal (D-Mass), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said it would be a “confidence builder" for the economy.

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Neal said confidence is the “key phrase in the stimulus.”

“We’ve all acknowledged that if we have an economic downtown it’s going to increase spending and we think that public investment as it relates to public health is issue number one,” he said.

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The draft stimulus package is expected to include provisions for:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. 
  • Paid emergency leave, with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. 
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks.  
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid

The vote will be coming after President Trump announced a $50 billion relief package for small business owners on Wednesday. Trump’s plan would have the Small Business Administration providing low-interest loans to affected businesses.

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