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Senators Edge Closer to Bipartisan Agreement on Economic Rescue Plan


Members of the House remain scattered across the country in their districts, on a recess that is likely to last at least until they take up the economic relief package. But Ms. Pelosi instructed House committee staff members to weigh in through Mr. Schumer’s aides on key provisions that Democrats want to see included in the final legislation, according to a senior Democratic aide.

“We are going to have to flex some muscles that may have atrophied,” Mr. Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor. “We are going to have to cooperate in ways that we may not be accustomed to.”

The package under discussion on Friday would be the third round of emergency aid Congress has considered this month to confront the coronavirus crisis. Lawmakers first approved $8.3 billion in emergency funding for government health agencies and then completed a second measure to provide paid leave, jobless aid and food and health care assistance. Mr. Trump has signed both bills into law.

The Republicans’ proposal would offer bridge loans of up to $10 million each to small businesses, extend hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to large corporations in distressed industries and send checks as large as $1,200 per adult to individuals earning less than $99,000 a year. Their proposal would phase in the payments for earners up to $75,000 — meaning lower earners would get smaller checks — and then phase out again at $99,000.

But the emerging compromise would send the same amount to anyone earning up to $75,000, reducing the payment as income rose and eliminating it entirely for those earning more than $99,000.

Under the Republican bill, those who did not earn enough to pay income tax would receive much less, $600, but those limits were likely to shift as well, with lawmakers in both parties fighting to expand the benefit. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, moved on Friday to try to alter the bill so that low-income individuals and families would get the full benefit.

Republicans are particularly divided over the direct payment program, with some, including Mr. Hawley, saying it should be targeted toward getting the most money to the lowest earners — not the other way around. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s, is pushing to distribute the money through unemployment insurance, an idea he has shared with the White House.

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