June 26, 2020
What to expect in Washington (June 26)
The House yesterday (June 25) passed by a 236-181 vote the Democratic police reform bill, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (H.R. 7120), but partisan gridlock on the issue that has dominated congressional attention for weeks was on display in the Senate a day earlier with a failed procedural vote on further debate of a Republican bill. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said on Fox News that he had offered consideration of amendments to his bill but "Democrats did not believe that we would produce a quality product" and, once it was produced, "they took a leap back."
The coronavirus set a new daily record of 40,000 cases. CDC's Robert Redfield said on a widely reported press call that antibody tests show infections may be 10 times higher than diagnosed cases, meaning more than 20 million people might have been infected with coronavirus; still, more than 90% of Americans have yet to be exposed. "We had a significant increase in cases. … We need to interrupt that," Redfield said of the spikes, and that distancing, face masks and handwashing must be continued.
NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci said officials are having "intense discussions" about "pool testing" samples from many people all together to more quickly find those infected, allowing officials to cast a broader net to find cases faster, the Washington Post reported.
The Wall Street Journal cited President Trump's approach to the pandemic in an editorial suggesting the President isn't acknowledging or responding to worsening poll numbers.
The New York Times reported presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden "opening double-digit leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin" and having strong numbers in other battleground states of Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Voter disapproval "seems to reflect deeper disagreement with the president's prioritization of the economy over stopping the spread of coronavirus, and with his focus on law and order over criminal justice."
The Administration June 25 asked the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a Justice Department filing saying the ACA's remaining provisions are inseverable "because it is evident that Congress would not have enacted them without the individual mandate" and related provisions. Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the ACA to continue without the provisions — the individual mandate was nullified in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act tax reform bill — and "the entire ACA thus must fall," it said.
House Democrats are set to vote next week on a bill to shore up the ACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425), that seeks to lower health insurance premiums with strengthened and expanded affordability assistance, including expanding eligibility for premium tax credits beyond 400% of the federal poverty line and increasing the size of tax credits for all income brackets.
On June 25, House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 47 co-sponsors introduced the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act, which was released as a draft in November. It aims to tackle climate change through the tax code and:
A similar package has been included in the $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) infrastructure package set for a House vote next week.
The June 17 letter from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his counterparts from the UK, Italy and Spain responding to Treasury SecretarySteven Mnuchin's call for a pause in OECD negotiations to develop a new regime for taxing local profits of global companies under Pillar 1 of the BEPS 2.0 project has come to light. The letter said nations have "worked in good faith and intensively" and US positions are "strongly reflected in the current Unified approach." The officials said the pandemic has "accelerated a fundamental transformation in consumption habits and increased the use of digital services," translating to revenue at the expense of more traditional businesses. They said it is "feasible to concretely deliver a solution to a 2020 timetable." OECD officials have noted the US wants to shift the project to 2021.
On June 25, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and others introduced the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327) that enhances the child and dependent care tax credit, among other provisions.
Also June 25, in News Release 2020-130, the IRS announced a time-limited settlement offer to certain taxpayers with pending docketed Tax Court cases involving syndicated conservation easement transactions.
The global EY Tax COVID-19 Response Tracker has been updated through June 23.
Today at 12:00 p.m. ET, is an EY Webcast, 'Tax in the time of COVID-19: Preparing for potential future tax changes.' This week's panelists will provide updates on: (i) the legislative and economic landscape — what's happening now and what may be around the corner; (ii) what's on the horizon for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; (iii) how companies should prepare for potential future tax changes; and (iv) any IRS and breaking developments. Register.