House Set To Vote Friday On Coronavirus Financial Aid Package

( – After days of back-and-forth, it seems the House of Representatives has finally gotten itself together and is ready to vote on a spending package that will help the country during the coronavirus spread.

On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would take a vote Friday on a financial aid package that would help counter the coronavirus outbreak. This was done after she and the Democrats reached a deal with Republicans in Congress as well as Steve Mnuchin, the Treasure Secretary, who was handling negotiations for the White House.

As part of the package, patients will be guaranteed a full 14 days of paid sick leave; testing for the coronavirus will be free; and tax credits will be made available for any small- to medium-sized businesses that are affected by the coronavirus. The financial aid package will also further fund unemployment benefits, Medicaid programs and food assistance.

The initial kick-back by Republicans regarding the plan was they wanted to make sure the paid sick leave extension wouldn’t end up being permanent. Democrats, meanwhile, didn’t want any specific language in the bill that would ban funding for abortion services.

In the end, Pelosi and Mnuchin hammered out the differences apparently, and came to a compromise. As she told reporters Thursday:

“We’ve resolved most of our differences, and [for] those we haven’t, we’ll continue the conversation, because there will obviously be other bills. It’s fair to say we’re close to an agreement, subject to the exchange of paper, and hope to have an agreement tomorrow.”

In a letter she sent to other legislators, Pelosi wrote the bill “will take further effective action that protects the health, economic security and well-being of the American people.”

With this first financial aid package related to coronavirus seems to be in the bag, pending an official vote on Friday, the House of Representatives will apparently get to work on further supportive legislation. Pelosi wrote that Congress would “get to work on a third emergency response package that will take further effective action that protects the health, economic security and well-being of the American people.”

What that other package would include is anyone’s guess at this point, but it is sure to include measures that would not only boost the health care of people throughout the country, but also protect their money while helping businesses get through the storm.

Also on Thursday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said the Senate wouldn’t take a recess next week, opting instead to remain in session so that members could vote on any legislation related to the coronavirus. As he wrote on Twitter:

“I am glad talks are ongoing between the Administration and Speaker Pelosi. I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong.”

In crisis times like these, it isn’t surprising to see both sides of the aisle come together to pass legislation that will help the American people. How long the niceties will last, though, is best left for another day.