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Dems vow Friday vote on coronavirus stimulus

Dems vow Friday vote on coronavirus stimulus
© Greg Nash

House Democratic leaders are pushing forward with a plan to vote Friday on sweeping legislation to provide financial help to victims of the fast-moving coronavirus.

Emerging from a leadership meeting in the office of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE (D-Calif.), Democrats said they haven't yet clinched a deal with GOP leaders, but the outstanding disagreements are so few that they're promising a vote on the package later in the day.

"It is largely done," said House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTop Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Md.). "We intend to move ahead today."

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Pelosi has been leading the talks for the Democrats, negotiating furiously with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE for much of the week in search of a bipartisan compromise that can clear both chambers and be signed into law.

The pair spoke most recently Friday morning by phone, according to aides and lawmakers, and Pelosi said the sides are "close" to an agreement.

Democrats said they've sent their latest offer to GOP leaders, who were meeting Friday morning to discuss the draft in the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy: 'I would think I already have the votes' to remain as House GOP leader Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE (R-Calif.).

Hoyer said Democrats have given the Republicans one of their central requests, removing language that would have essentially created a permanent paid leave program providing benefits in the event of future public health emergencies. The compromise bill will sunset that benefit when the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Another sticking point relates to abortion services. Republicans have demanded the inclusion of language, known as the Hyde Amendment, explicitly prohibiting the use of federal funds to provide those services. One aide said Democrats have conceded to that request, and the language will be included, though Democratic lawmakers declined to comment before the deal is sealed.

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If such a deal is struck, Democrats are hoping to fast-track the legislation on the House floor through a procedural maneuver that sidesteps the need to adopt a rule governing the debate.

In any event, Democrats made crystal clear that they're bringing the package to the floor on Friday, both as a response to the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus and as a symbolic gesture to demonstrate that Congress is on the job.

“We think right now providing some confidence and stabilization is our paramount issue, and that’s why the intention is clear: We’re going with this this morning,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Kudlow confident that Trump can 'round up' Senate GOP behind coronavirus relief deal | US deficit spikes to record .1T Top Democrat: Tax credit expansions must be in next coronavirus relief package Treasury withheld nearly M from FDNY 9/11 health program MORE (D-Mass.), a key negotiator, as he emerged from Pelosi’s office.