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Trump says Congress close to deal on potential $2 trillion virus relief package

trump task force
President Trump delivers remarks alongside members of his coronavirus task force.

UPDATE: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced late Saturday that all sides were “very close” to a bipartisan resolution.

McConnell instructed committee chairmen to assemble draft legislation. Officials put the price tag at nearly $1.4 trillion and said that with other measures from the Federal Reserve it could pump $2 trillion into the U.S. economy.

ORIGINAL REPORT: WASHINGTON, DC -- President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that Congress is close to reaching a deal on a proposal for the next stimulus bill to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The bipartisan economic relief package initially planned to cost around $1 trillion may expand to more than $2 trillion, according to Larry Kudlow, the White House's top economic adviser.

Kudlow told reporters that the size of the package would be approximately 10% of the county's gross domestic product, calling it a "very large package."

When a reporter noted that 10% would be more than $2 trillion, he replied: "That's correct."

However, White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland later said the final price tag of the stimulus bill may expand "over a trillion dollars large."

"Larry's talking about the combination of what we're doing here, the spending bill and what we're doing here with the stimulus bill, as well as the Federal Reserve," Ueland said.

Negotiations for the bill resumed Saturday on Capitol Hill.

"We're working against that very tight clock, very aggressive clock," Ueland told reporters before walking into the negotiation room.

That clock was set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said Friday night he was hoping lawmakers could reach an agreement by midnight, a deadline since extended to Saturday afternoon. To beat the clock, McConnell instructed lawmakers and staff to begin drafting legislation before the deal is locked in place.

Senate Democrats are still pushing to bolster unemployment insurance, which continues to be one of the major sticking points in the negotiations.

McConnell said he was optimistic a deal could be reached at some point Saturday.

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