Pelosi announces coronavirus aid deal

Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR/AP) — Late Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the Trump administration for an aid package from Congress that aims at direct relief to Americans — free testing, two weeks of sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Pelosi announced in a letter to colleagues after days of negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The House was poised to vote late Friday. Earlier in the day, Raquel Martin profiled the situation and how congressional leadership was reacting. You can watch her report above.

Trump tweeted his approval for the aid deal. “I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act,” Trump wrote.

“I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!” He added, “Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”

The crush of late-day activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus shuttered the capital’s power centers, roiled financial markets and left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

The White House was under enormous pressure, dealing with the crisis on multiple fronts as it encroached ever closer on the president.

Trump has been known to flout public health advice — eagerly shaking hands during the more than hour-long afternoon event — but acknowledged he “most likely” will be tested now after having been in contact with several officials who have tested positive for the virus. “Fairly soon,” he said.

Still, Trump said officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “We don’t want people without symptoms to go and do that test,” Trump said, adding, “It’s totally unnecessary.”

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