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Live updates: Congress nears deal on COVID aid, includes stimulus checks

Congress is nearing a long-sought deal on COVID-19 relief with a deal that could come Thursday.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a coauthor of a $908 billion bipartisan package, said leadership negotiators are closing in on an agreement that would extend direct payments of $500-$600 to most Americans but would deny Democratic negotiators long-sought aid to state and local governments. Manchin credited his bipartisan group with facilitating the breakthrough.

“I think they’re basically now putting it all together,” Manchin said on CNN. “We were able to break the gridlock.”

Negotiations on COVID-19 relief intensified on Tuesday after months of futility. The top Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress met twice in hopes of finally cementing a leadership agreement that would revive subsidies for businesses hit hard by the pandemic, help distribute new coronavirus vaccines, fund schools and renew soon-to-expire jobless benefits.

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