Senate Dems strike jobless aid deal, relief bill OK in sight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin have struck a deal over emergency jobless benefits, breaking a nine-hour logjam that had stalled the party’s showpiece $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The compromise, announced by the West Virginia lawmaker and a Democratic aide, seems to clear the way for the Senate to begin a climactic, marathon series of votes expected to lead to approval of the sweeping legislation.

Virus Outbreak Congress

Congressional staffers wait in the ornate corridor outside the Senate chamber during a delay in work on the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The overall bill, President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority, is aimed at battling the killer pandemic and nursing the staggered economy back to health.

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