. . WASHINGTON (AP) - Leaders in Congress are close to reaching an agreement on a lengthy COVID-19 relief package in hopes of closing a deal as early as Wednesday that will expand aid to individuals and businesses and ship coronavirus vaccines to millions should support. Sen. . Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. , a co-author of a $ 908 billion bipartisan package, said leadership negotiators are about to agree on laws that would extend direct payments to perhaps $ 600 to most Americans. No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota confirmed the likely addition of direct payments in this area, as well as a weekly unemployment benefit of $ 300 per week, to partially replace a weekly benefit of $ 600 expired earlier this summer. "We have made great strides in drawing up a bipartisan aid package," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The bill would include a new round of economic reviews, improved federal unemployment insurance benefits, and other ways to provide aid to states, locations, areas, and tribes, according to two people familiar with the conversations and empowered to characterize them. Their statement said a provision requested by the GOP to protect companies from COVID-19-related lawsuits would be dropped. "I think they're basically putting it all together now," Manchin told CNN. “We were able to break the deadlock. Other aides who followed the conversations offered more cautious assessments. The emerging package acts as a magnet for add-ons and the two sides continue to exchange offers. It is also evident that another temporary spending bill will be needed to prevent the government from closing at midnight on Friday. That will likely happen easily. House lawmakers returned to Washington Wednesday in hopes of voting on the emerging package soon. . .