Congress close to emergency relief deal including direct payments, added unemployment benefits

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain
U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

WASHINGTON — A coronavirus relief deal appears within reach following months of stalemate in Congress, potentially providing much-needed help to Americans facing expiring unemployment benefits and states distributing the new COVID-19 vaccine. But CNN reports that Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said it’s possible a brief government shutdown could occur over the weekend because it could be difficult to pass a stopgap spending bill before the Friday midnight deadline.