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

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John Thune, Lindsey Graham

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pause outside the Senate chamber to talk with reporters 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)

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — Senate leaders and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin have struck a deal over emergency jobless benefits, breaking a 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.

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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