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After Intense Back-and-Forth, House Passes Virus Relief Bill

President Trump says he's ready to sign it after negotiations between Pelosi, his administration
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2020 6:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – After what the New York Times says was a "roller-coaster day of negotiations" between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration, the House passed a coronavirus relief bill in the early hours Saturday that will help families across the nation impacted by the illness. Per CNN, the bipartisan package passed 363-40, with 40 Republicans voting against it. Michigan's Justin Amash (now an independent after defecting from the GOP) voted "present," explaining on Twitter that, in his view, the process was rushed and "key provisions appeared unworkable as drafted." According to a letter that Pelosi drafted to House Democrats Friday evening, the bill includes free coronavirus testing (even for those without insurance), as well as two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave for qualifying workers.

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The bill also includes enhanced unemployment benefits, expanded federal funding for Medicaid, and more food aid. In a series of tweets before the vote, President Trump indicated Friday night he would sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk. "I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!" he posted. "I will always put........the health and well-being of American families FIRST. Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!" Trump added he would direct Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia "to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt." Earlier Friday, during a press conference in which he declared a national emergency, Trump had criticized the bill, saying, "We don't think the Democrats are giving enough." The bill will likely see a Senate vote Monday, per USA Today. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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