July 6, 2020
What to expect in Washington (July 6)
The Senate is scheduled to be out for two weeks and bipartisan negotiations over the next coronavirus response bill are expected to get underway upon their return, though the latest reports suggest there is no consensus among Republicans over what should be included. Friday's Wall Street Journal reported Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) as saying there is some confusion resulting from "a higher rate of COVID in the last few weeks and better job numbers than anybody expected;" and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) as saying of the size and substance of a next bill, "There's a lot of discussion internally about that and there isn't any consensus yet."
On Fox News the morning of July 6, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows didn't mention specific proposals but said: "[W]e're going to provide help for the American business owner, for the hardworking American men and women to make sure that this temporary — and I want to stress — this temporary downturn in the economy does not affect them personally. A lot of very difficult circumstances out there. We're well-aware. Those are getting communicated to the president each and every day, and he stands ready to act."
Meadows also suggested executive orders were under consideration and, "We're going to look at a number of issues as it relates to prescription drug prices and we're going to get them done when Congress couldn't get them done."
The top editorial in the July 6 Washington Post said the $58 billion for K-12 schools in the House-passed HEROES Act is one reason to act quickly on a next bill given that "time is running short" to provide schools necessary resources to reopen and "it is vital that children return to the classroom."
The July 6 Wall Street Journal talks about the American Workforce Rescue Act backed by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) that would take an 'autopilot' approach and extend the $600 increase in weekly UI benefits beyond July 31 until a state's three-month average total unemployment rate falls below 11%. The report said, "The proposal is unlikely to make headway so long as Republicans control the Senate," amid criticism the $600 add-on benefit discourages people from returning to work.
While the House is out of session and starts a two week 'work period,' committees will hold virtual hearings during this time. Hearings this week include, on Wednesday, July 8, at 12 noon at the House Homeland Security Committee, "Examining the National Response to the Worsening Coronavirus Pandemic." The witnesses will be Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Tupelo, Mississippi Mayor Jason Shelton; and Umair Shah, M.D., Executive Director of Harris County Public Health, Texas.
A report in the June 6 Washington Post is the latest to focus on Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) as a potential VP pick for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying she has quietly emerged as a serious contender and quoting former Senate majority leader Harry Reid as saying there has been "a lot of attention" on Senator Duckworth lately.
The global EY Tax COVID-19 Response Tracker has been updated through June 30.