Trump rejects $1.2 trillion coronavirus aid package

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Tuesday rejected a US$900 billion (S$1.2 trillion) bipartisan Covid-19 stimulus package, calling it "a disgrace" and demanding that lawmakers more than triple relief payments to Americans.

While he did not explicitly say he would not sign the bill, which passed overwhelmingly on Monday in both houses of Congress, Mr Trump made clear he would not accept the legislation.

"It really is a disgrace," he said in a video on Twitter.

"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low US$600 to US$2,000, or US$4,000 for a couple," he said, referring to the relief cheques meant to go out to most Americans.

"I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and just send me a suitable bill."

Any delay in approving a deal would have dire consequences - it is meant to spare millions of jobless workers days away from seeing their unemployment benefits expire, and provide a new round of cash payouts.

Small businesses will benefit from more government grants, while the package also includes rental assistance and help to families facing eviction.

The massive package is part of a US$2.3 trillion"coronabus" bill that includes an omnibus bill to fund the government for the coming year. - AFP