Covid: Fauci says U.S. could return to normal by mid-fall if most people are vaccinated

After months of political sniping, Congress has finally come within reach of a deal to send more help to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The top four leaders on Capitol Hill have come close to a $900 billion pandemic aid agreement, CNBC and NBC News confirmed. The lawmakers will put aside liability protections for businesses and state and local government relief, the two biggest hurdles to reaching a deal in recent months.

The developing rescue package would include a direct payment to Americans, which could come out to about $600 per person. It would also have about $300 billion for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans and funds for Covid-19 vaccine development and distribution, among other provisions.

GOP Sen. Steve Daines of Montana told CNBC he is optimistic congressional leaders will release an agreement today and vote on it by the end of the week.

Congress hopes to tie relief measures to a funding package that it needs to pass by a midnight Friday deadline to avoid a government shutdown. If lawmakers fail to extend lifelines put in place this year, millions will lose unemployment benefits or face eviction at the end of the month.