By Agence France-Presse
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that Democrats had reached a deal with the administration of President Donald Trump on a relief package for Americans hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Pelosi said Democrats secured agreement on testing, emergency paid sick leave and family leave related to the epidemic, as well as enhance unemployment insurance.
“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 said after days of tense talks with the White House.
The bill will add federal funds to the Medicaid federal health program, and strengthen food benefits for poor Americans, including those children reliant on free school meals, she said.
Above all, Pelosi said in a statement, “This legislation is about testing, testing, testing.”
“To stop the spread of the virus, we have secured free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested can get their test free of charge.”
The legislation is expected to easily pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but face a hurdle in the Republican-controlled Senate — though Trump’s endorsement could smooth that.
“As the Senate works to pass this bill, the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people,” Pelosi said.
Last week the Congress passed and Trump signed an emergency $8.3 billion spending bill to combat the social and economic impact of the virus.