US coronavirus rescue package stalls

Washington is still yet to commit to a $1.8 trillion (£1.548 trillion) rescue package for Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

With a wary population watching and waiting, Washington laboured under the size and scope of the rescue package — larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined.

Democrats are holding out as they argue the package is tilted toward corporations and should do more to help suddenly jobless workers and health care providers with dire needs.

We're very close to reaching a deal.

In particular, senator Chuck Schumer wants constraints on the largely Republican-led effort to provide $500 billion (£430 billion) for corporations, which Democrats have called a “slush fund.”

Mr Schumer wants the bill to limit stock buy-backs, CEO pay and layoffs.

“We’re very close to reaching a deal,” he said on Monday.

Central to the emerging rescue package is as much as $350 billion (£301 billion) for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

The package also proposes a one-time rebate of about $1,200 (£1,032) per person, or $3,000 (£2,580) for a family of four, as well as extended unemployment benefits.

Hospitals would get about $110 billion (£94.6 billion) for the expected influx of sick patients.

But Democrats are pushing for more healthcare dollars for the frontline hospitals and workers.

The urgency to act is mounting, as jobless claims skyrocket and financial markets are eager for signs that Washington can soften the blow of the healthcare crisis and a looming recession.

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