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Pelosi sets 48-hour deadline to reach coronavirus stimulus deal before election

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020.

Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on the Trump administration to reconcile remaining disputes on coronavirus stimulus legislation within 48 hours as lawmakers attempt to pass a bill before the 2020 election.

Pelosi set the 48-hour deadline on negotiations after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday night for more than an hour.

In an interview on ABC News on Sunday, Pelosi said the deadline applies to lawmakers’ ability to get a deal done before the Nov. 3 election. The speaker said she’s optimistic about negotiations but that the outcome ultimately depends on the White House.

Stimulus talks have dragged on for months even as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. and millions of Americans remain unemployed.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have progressed their negotiations this week, with the most recent call last night resulting in “some encouraging news on testing,” according to Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill.

The two still have differences on a comprehensive plan for Covid-19 testing, contact tracing and “measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color,” Hammill said.

Pelosi, who has identified testing as a major point of contention in talks, said Sunday that there is no agreement between Democrats and Republican lawmakers on language on testing. Mnuchin said last week that the White House won’t let differences over funding targets for testing derail stimulus talks.

“We’re seeking clarity,” Pelosi said on Sunday, adding that Trump administration officials drafting the legislation are “not legislators.”

Democrats, who have passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill in the House, dismissed the Trump administration’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal as insufficient. The two sides disagree on major policy issues including funding for state and local governments and protections for businesses during the pandemic.

Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin are able to reach a bipartisan deal, many Senate Republicans have opposed spending close to $2 trillion on a package.

The Senate is set to vote on a limited $500 billion stimulus bill on Wednesday, which will include funding for schools, expanded unemployment benefits and a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

But Democrats blocked a $500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month and will likely dismiss the latest GOP proposal as insufficient too.


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U.S. reports record 99,321 new coronavirus cases as scientists warn latest surge just beginning

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The U.S. reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, beating its previous record set only a day prior as the pandemic worsens in nearly every corner of the nation.

“We’re at a point where the epidemic is accelerating across the country. We’re right at the beginning of the steep part of the epidemic curve,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Friday evening.

“You’ll see cases start to accelerate in the coming weeks,” he said, predicting the height of the country’s recent surge will be reached around Thanksgiving. Gottlieb said that “December’s probably going to be the toughest month.”

The U.S. is continuing its upward climb on what’s now the pandemic’s third peak, with cases growing by 5% or more in 43 states as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are now more than 9 million reported Covid-19 cases in the United States, which added an additional 1 million cases in only two weeks, according to Hopkins.

Over the last week, the U.S. reported an average of roughly 78,738 new cases every day, the highest seven-day average recorded yet and up nearly 25% compared with a week ago. The top five records in daily reported cases have all been reached within the last eight days, according to Hopkins data.

While the U.S. is conducting record-high levels of testing, it can’t entirely explain the recent rise in infections, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s testing effort, said Wednesday on NBC’s “TODAY” show. He added that hospitalizations are also rising and deaths are gradually following, metrics that usually lag behind climbing cases.

As of Friday, 18 states reached record-high hospitalizations based on a seven-day average, particularly in the West and Midwest — Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all hit records, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Although some have referred to the latest peak in cases as a “third wave,” White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with SiriusXM’s “Doctor Radio Reports” aired on Friday that the country is still grappling with its original wave of infections.

That’s because the U.S., unlike other countries, never reported an average of less than 20,000 daily Covid-19 cases at any point in the pandemic, he said. As the outbreak that originally ripped through New York and the Northeast began to decline in the spring, America’s Sun Belt states began reporting swelling outbreaks and infections rose again over the summer.

“We never got out of the real wave. We kind of went up and down within a wave,” he said. “When I hear people talk about second and third waves, it really is the original wave that just resurges up, comes down a little, and resurges up again.”

The U.S. is now facing daily case counts that are “extremely high and quite unacceptable,” Fauci said. He previously said in early August that the goal was to suppress the daily total to below 10,000 before September. Now, experts like Gottlieb predict the U.S. will report 100,000 new cases within the coming days.

“We’re in a precarious position over the next several weeks to months,” Fauci said, urging people to continue wearing face masks, practice social distancing, wash their hands, avoid crowds and spend time outdoors over indoors as much as possible.


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Coronavirus vaccine disinformation will continue

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2020 Election: Coronavirus vaccine disinformation will continue