House Democrats pass partisan COVID bill; relief talks drag

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the House narrowly have passed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Thursday, a move that came as top-level talks on a smaller, potentially bipartisan measure dragged on toward an uncertain finish.

An air of pessimism has largely taken over the Capitol. The Democratic bill passed after a partisan debate without any Republicans in support.

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The move puts lawmakers no closer to actually delivering aid such as more generous weekly unemployment payments, extended help for small businesses and especially troubled economic sectors and another round of $1,200 direct payments to most Americans.

Passage of the $2.2 trillion plan came after a burst of negotiations this week between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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