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White House, Senate reach deal on massive aid bill

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The Senate and White House overnight reached agreement on a massive coronavirus aid package that will deliver checks to struggling Americans, new resources to health care providers on the front lines of the virus fight, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans to small businesses.

"At last we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in floor remarks posted by The Hill. He later added, "In effect this is a wartime-level of investment into our nation."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York called the bill a "Marshall Plan" for health care, with more than $130 billion in it for hospitals, nurses and physicians, nursing homes and community health centers. He described aid pledged to the suddenly jobless as "unemployment compensation on steroids."

"We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history," he said. "This is not a moment of celebration but one of necessity." He later added, "Because many Democrats and Republicans were willing to do the serious and hard work, the bill is much better off than where it started."

McConnell said the bill also invests in "new medicines and vaccines so we can beat this virus faster." He said, "It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation's health care fight and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses, and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar."

The Baker administration and state legislators, mindful of massive needs in their districts and for the state budget, have been awaiting word on a deal.  

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