Final stretch on COVID-19 economic relief, but no deal yet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators on the long-delayed $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package are working through a handful of remaining hold-ups. They’re laboring to seal a final agreement to deliver additional help to businesses and the unemployed and $600 stimulus payments to most Americans. Negotiators are working on a package that would revive subsidies for businesses hit hard by the pandemic, help distribute new vaccines, fund schools and renew soon-to-expire jobless benefits. There’s intense pressure for a deal. Unemployment benefits run out Dec. 26 for more than 10 million people and a new jobless claims report Thursday brought bad news. Many businesses are barely hanging on after nine months of the pandemic.