Deadline looms, but COVID relief deal may be far off

Posted at 8:49 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 20:49:19-04

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported some progress in advance of a Tuesday deadline for reaching a pre-election deal with President Donald Trump on a new coronavirus relief package, but the same problems bedeviling the effort remain in place despite optimistic talk from the president and his team.

Pelosi negotiated for nearly an hour Monday with Trump’s top emissary, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and a top aide called it productive.

But with time nearly up for Congress and the White House to deliver aid to Americans before the election, the question remains: If not now, when?

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street as optimism faded that Washington would deliver more badly needed aid for the economy before the election next month.

The benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.6% after starting the day higher. Investors also prepared for a busy week of corporate earnings. Procter & Gamble, Netflix and IBM are among the companies that will report how they did over the summer, when the virus lockdowns were in full swing.

Stocks had been up in the early going following a report that China’s economy grew at a 5% annual rate in the last quarter.