Monday morning news – October 19, 2020

Pelosi sets Tuesday deadline for pre-election relief bill » House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a deal on a COVID-19 relief package is still possible, but it has to happen no later than tomorrow. 

Pelosi said she’s optimistic, but plenty of differences remain. She complained that the White House said it agreed with House Democrats on the wording of some provisions, but in fact softened the language. 

She read one example in an interview with ABC This Week.  

PELOSI: ‘Contract tracing will be paid for by the federal government as part of the $75 billion dollars.’ Okay, we agree on that. But ‘given state difference, each state shall establish a strategy that is appropriate to its circumstances. CDC can provide guidance to the states on elements.’ Can, no must! 

The speaker on Sunday set a 48-hour deadline to strike a deal on a pre-election relief package. But either way, she said a deal is still possible after the November 3rd election. 

While there’s still plenty the White House and House Democrats disagree on, there’s even more daylight between the House and the GOP-led Senate

The White House has proposed a $1.8 trillion relief bill—following the House’s $2.2 trillion proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, recently unveiled a narrowly focused $500 billion relief bill. 

Trump, Biden look to flip swing states ahead of election » With Election Day now just 15 days away, the Trump and Biden campaigns are hitting the ground hard in battleground states. 

TRUMP: We are telling you, you better get out because we have a group on the other side that doesn’t agree with us, you understand that. And we happen to be right, so get out there on November 3rd or sooner and do your thing.

President Trump heard there during a visit to a Las Vegas church on Sunday, before an evening rally in Carson City. 

Both Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden traveled yesterday to states they’re hoping to flip. Trump lost Nevada in 2016. 

Biden, meantime, campaigned in a state the president carried four years ago… 

BIDEN: This is the most important election in our lifetime. It’s going to make all the difference here in North Carolina. The choice is as clear as it’s ever been and the stakes have never been higher. 

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris returns to the campaign trail today. Last week, Harris canceled all public events through Sunday after a staffer and one other person tested positive for COVID-19. Harris has since tested negative.

Coronavirus cases surging once again » Coronavirus cases are again on the rise in the United States and elsewhere around the world. 

On Friday, U.S. health officials reported more than 70,000 new cases for the first time since July. That’s a sharp increase since early September, when new daily cases had dipped to about 26,000. On the flip side, new treatments are helping doctors keep more critically ill patients alive. A rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 deaths has fallen slightly from a September low of 738 to 702 on Saturday. 

Still, some experts warn things will get worse before they get better. Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm told NBC’s Meet the Press

OSTERHOLM: We do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike, but when you actually look at the time period for that, the next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he understands people are anxious for life to return to normal. But he urged Americans to remain vigilant. 

AZAR: They’ve been locked down. They’ve been isolated and they’re tired. But the point is, we’re so close. Hang in there with us. We are so close. We are weeks away from monoclonal antibodies for you, for safe and effective vaccines. We need to bridge to that day. 

He said in the meantime, Americans must remember what he called the “three Ws”—wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear face coverings in public. 

U.N. arms embargo against Iran expires over U.S. objection » A decade-long UN arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons expired Sunday, despite objections from the United States. 

The embargo prevented Iran from buying weapons, aircraft, and vehicles like tanks and fighter jets from other countries. Its expiration was part of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flatly rejected the expiration. He said “The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity” that sells arms to Iran or provides training or other support. 

Iran’s economy remains crippled by broad-reaching U.S. sanctions, and other nations may avoid arms deals with Tehran for fear of American financial retaliation.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nev. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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