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Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The House passed a sweeping coronavirus relief package shortly before 1 a.m. EST on Saturday with a 363-40 vote after President Trump declared a national emergency over the virus outbreak.

Driving the news: President Trump endorsed the deal Friday evening on Twitter, prior to its vote in the House.

Why it matters: Securing the White House's backing is a critical step in clearing a legislative logjam that will allow Congress to move forward despite intense partisan gridlock.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cancelled the chamber's planned recess to take up the package, though McConnell had derided House Democrats' first stab at coronavirus legislation as an "ideological wishlist."

Details: The package seeks to address many of everyday Americans' concerns as businesses and schools continue to shut down amid the outbreak. It includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.
  • Two weeks of guaranteed paid sick leave, as well as increased family leave.
  • Increased support for unemployment benefits.
  • Works to strengthen programs that provide school lunches for students who rely on them.
  • A bump in Medicaid funding.

What they're saying: "As the Senate works to pass this bill, the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people. We will do so in continued consultation with scientists, researchers, health care professionals, public health officials and community leaders, so that we can craft the most effective, evidence-based response," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday.

  • “It was remarkably irresponsible and out of touch for Senator McConnell to send senators out of town for the weekend in the middle of this public health crisis and before the House passed this vital people-focused legislation. Senator McConnell and Republicans should pass this legislation as is immediately so it can get to the president’s desk so he can sign it right away," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Friday.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.