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US Senate majority leader says Congress has reached deal on COVID-19 relief

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-12-21 09:48
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US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, Nov 17, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON - US Congress has just reached an agreement on the long-awaited COVID-19 relief package, and lawmakers will pass the bill as soon as possible, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday afternoon.

"Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP," the top Republican in the upper chamber said in a tweet. "More help is on the way."

The 900-billion-USD relief plan under negotiation was set to include another round of direct payments for individuals, federal unemployment benefits, and more funding for Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses.

McConnell announced the agreement without offering details of the final package. Lawmakers could move to vote on the proposal as soon as Sunday night, along with a full-year government spending bill, according to a CNBC report.

Amid COVID-19 spikes, US economic recovery seems to be losing momentum, but Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been deadlocked for months over the size and scope of the next round of relief package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, top Democrat in the lower chamber, and McConnell have recently said that they want to attach the COVID-19 relief legislation to an omnibus funding bill.

Lawmakers previously passed stopgap funding bills to avert a government shutdown and provide lawmakers more time to negotiate a deal in COVID-19 relief and long-term government funding.

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