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Pelosi pushes pandemic aid package as Republicans exercise caution

Democrats are expected to propose another round of direct cash aid.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing ahead with the next aid package (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing ahead with the next aid package (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing ahead with the next aid package (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pressing ahead with the next pandemic aid package as Republicans insist such assistance should be paused.

Democrats are expected to propose another round of direct cash aid for anxious Americans, funds for states to prevent layoffs and more money to shore up businesses in the stay-home economy. The amount of funding has yet to be determined.

Ms Pelosi is pushing the package even as the House stays closed due to the health risks of returning, though the Senate has reopened.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by saying it was time to “pause” further aid.

The Republican leader has insisted any new aid package must include liability protections for the hospitals, health care providers and businesses that are operating and reopening in the pandemic.

He said on Tuesday that he wants to prevent “an epidemic of lawsuits.”

But Mr McConnell also signalled an interest in increasing virus testing strategies as part of the US takingsteps “back toward normalcy”.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to prevent an “epidemic of lawsuits” over liability as businesses reopenPatrick Semansky, File)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to prevent an “epidemic of lawsuits” over liability as businesses reopenPatrick Semansky, File)

AP/PA Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to prevent an “epidemic of lawsuits” over liability as businesses reopenPatrick Semansky, File)

While machinations continued in Washington, President Donald Trump told staff at a mask-manufacturing factory in Arizona that the country had reached the “next stage” in its battle against Covid-19.

He said: “Thanks to the profound commitment of our citizens, we’ve flattened the curve and countless American lives have been saved. Our country is now in the next stage of the battle: a very safe, phased and gradual reopening.

“It’s a reopening of our country. Who would have ever thought we were going to be saying that?”

PA Media