7 Feb 2009

Compromise stimulus deal under consideration

2:36 pm on 7 February 2009

US Senators are considering a $US780 billion compromise economic stimulus deal for President Barack Obama.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats tried on Friday to trim the original $US937 billion price tag - a figure that some in both parties acknowledge is too high.

Full Senate deliberations are due to resume at 6.30pm (2330 GMT).

Mr Obama wants the final version on his desk by 16 February.

Democrats control the 100-member Senate, but need at least two Republicans to reach the 60 votes required to clear possible procedural hurdles.

Earlier, the Labor Department issued figures showing 598,000 jobs were lost in January. The unemployment rate jumped to 7.6%. Both were worse than expected.

Mr Obama has had a tough first two weeks in office.

There was no Republican support for a $US819 billion version of the stimulus plan in the House of Representatives.

Some of his administration appointments also had to withdraw after disclosures that they failed to pay some taxes.