House Democrats say vote expected Friday on coronavirus relief measure

After an intense round of questioning during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) convinced Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield to say “yes” to free coronavirus testing regardless of insurance.

The House is preparing to vote on Friday on a coronavirus relief measure after top negotiators spent the past day in discussions over how to reach a consensus agreement between House Democrats and the Trump administration.

A final deal — and final legislative text — has not yet been announced, but a source familiar tells CNN that the deal is basically done and now they are just waiting to see if there’s any last-minute issues that come up from House Republicans and President Donald Trump.

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Democrats expect a vote this afternoon and the bill text is expected to be posted soon.

Rep. Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, emerged from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Friday morning and said he expected there will be a vote later Friday. He declined to comment further, saying he has been “instructed” not to talk.

“I think the package is basically ready,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Paid leave is “pretty much resolved,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Earlier on Friday morning, two people involved in the talks said that as negotiators moved toward agreement on a final, sweeping economic stimulus package, the main outstanding issue remained the scope of the paid leave pieces of the agreement.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke by phone again on Friday morning — after speaking eight separate times over hours of intense negotiations on Thursday — as they attempted to close out the final major hurdle.

“We’ll get there,” one aide involved told CNN. “We’re as close to a deal as we can be without actually having one.”

The effort to pass a relief package in the House comes as concern and anxiety mounts over the rapid spread of coronavirus across the United States — a development that has jolted the financial markets.

Congress passed an $8.3 billion total coronavirus response package last week, but there is a strong sense among lawmakers that more needed to be done to respond to the economic fallout from the spread of the virus.

In a letter to House Democrats on Thursday evening, Pelosi wrote that “we are near to a bipartisan agreement,” and said that the legislation would include a number of provisions, including free coronavirus testing “for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.”

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