WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders said they had reached agreement on Sunday on a $900 billion stimulus package that would provide direct payments and jobless aid to struggling Americans and badly needed funds for small businesses, hospitals, schools and vaccine distribution, overcoming months of stalemate on a measure intended to boost the pandemic-battered economy.
The agreement, struck after a renewed flurry of talks broke a partisan logjam that had persisted since the summer, came hours before the federal government was set to run out of funds. Once drafted, it was expected to be merged with a sweeping catchall spending measure that would keep the government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, creating a $2.3 trillion behemoth whose passage will be Congress’s last major act before adjourning for the year.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, announced the agreement Sunday evening on the Senate floor, declaring, “We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time: More help is on the way.”
With additional time needed to transform their agreement into legislative text, both chambers were expected later Sunday to approve a one-day stopgap spending bill — their third such temporary extension the last 10 days — to avoid a government shutdown while they were finalizing the deal.
The House could vote as early as Monday on the final spending package, and the Senate was expected to follow shortly afterward, sending it to President Trump for his signature.
While the text was not immediately available, the agreement was expected to provide stimulus payments of $600 to American adults and children and revive supplemental federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week — half the level of aid delivered by the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted in March, as the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating health and economic impact was just coming into focus.
It also would extend two federal unemployment programs that expanded and extended regular benefits, and would have lapsed next week without action by Congress. The agreement includes rental and food assistance, as well as billions of dollars for schools and small businesses, reviving the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program that lapsed this year.
While the deal marked a triumphant moment in talks that had long been stalled, it was far narrower than the one Democrats had long insisted upon, and nearly twice the size of the one Republicans had said they could ever accept. Democrats had refused for months to scale back their demands for a multitrillion-dollar package, citing the devastating toll of the virus, and Republicans dug in against another large infusion of federal aid, pointing to the growing deficit.
But in the end, the crucial breakthrough came just before midnight on Saturday, when Republicans dropped an effort to ban the Federal Reserve from establishing certain emergency lending programs to help…