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UPDATE 1-Biden, Schumer and Pelosi agree on need for coronavirus aid

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WILMINGTON, Del., Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed in a meeting on Friday that Congress should pass a package of coronavirus economic aid in its current session, they said in a joint statement.

“That package should include resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance and affordable health care for millions of families,” the joint statement, released by Biden’s office, said.

Biden, who is due to take office on Jan. 20, has been pushing for quick action on a coronavirus relief bill, but Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been far apart for months on the scope and cost of such a measure.

Schumer said on Thursday that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to resume coronavirus relief talks. Staff members representing McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy met on Thursday, according a senior Democratic aide.

The aide said the group discussed coronavirus relief and efforts to pass a $1.4 trillion bill to keep government agencies operating beyond Dec. 11 when current funding expires. (Reporting by Eric Beech and Michael Martina; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Cynthia Osterman)

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