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Mnuchin says ‘significant differences’ remain on stimulus

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Steve Mnuchin (AFP)

Despite months of talks, “significant differences” remain with Democrats on a new US economic stimulus package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday, indicating worsening odds for a deal before the November 3 election.

Mnuchin has been negotiating regularly with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a spending measures of around $2 trillion aimed at helping the world’s largest economy recover from the Covid-19 downturn.

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But the two sides have not been able to agree on how much to spend, or what to spend it on.

“I would say we offered compromises. The Speaker, on a number of issues, is still dug in. If she wants to compromise, there will be a deal,” Mnuchin said. “We’ve made lots of progress, lots of areas, but there’s still significant differences.”

Trump replied “I think we can” when asked by a reporter if talks with Pelosi could continue, but then sought to blame her for the lack of progress.

“At this moment, I would say that I actually think Nancy would rather wait until after the election” to pass a stimulus package, Trump said.

Economists say the United States needs more government aid to recover from the sharp economic contraction and mass layoffs caused by the pandemic.

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The $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March has been credited with helping the economy survive the early months, but its main provisions expired, leading to tens of thousands of layoffs at airlines and an end to extra aid small businesses and the unemployed.

Democrats in the House have approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus measure and the White House has proposed spending $1.9 trillion.

But the key sticking points are over how much more aid to give to state and local governments and on liability protections for businesses.

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Trump has vowed not to help “poorly run” Democratic-led states and cities.


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United Airlines flying coronavirus vaccines on charter flights to allow quick distribution — if approved: report

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Companies are implementing their own plans to rapidly distribute coronavirus vaccines.

"United Airlines Holdings Inc. on Friday began operating charter flights to position doses of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine for quick distribution if the shots are approved by regulators," The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing "people familiar with the matter."

"The initial flights are one link in a vast global supply chain being assembled to tackle the logistical challenge of distributing Covid-19 vaccines. Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to move quickly if it gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators around the world," the newspaper reported.

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‘Black Friday’ sales could be strong despite the coronavirus pandemic: analysts

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The coronavirus is clouding "Black Friday" much as it has overshadowed 2020 in general, but some leading experts still expect strong overall sales even as shopping patterns are altered.

The more bullish case for the holiday shopping season cites robust demand for bigger-ticket items such as home improvement projects, new computers and home fitness machines as more people work from home and e-commerce grabs an ever-increasing share of the overall market.

Malls were open for business as usual on Friday, but there were early indications that the day-after-Thanksgiving crowds were more sparse this year as more consumers opt for e-commerce or for curbside pickup options because of the virus.

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Gun-toting Idaho Lt. Gov. wants to spend millions on a Trump supporter’s dangerous and useless ‘disinfectant cube’

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This Tuesday, Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin proposed spending millions of dollars of the state’s CARES Act funds for technology that included “walk-through disinfectant cubes” to be installed at the state Capitol to fight against coronavirus, the Idaho State Journal reports.

During a virtual press conference with pastors and business owners, McGeachin praised the “very high-tech equipment” manufactured by Xtreme Manufacturing in Las Vegas.

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