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July 7, 2020

What to expect in Washington (July 7)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said July 6 that Senate Republicans are likely to put forward their own proposal for the next coronavirus response bill in coming weeks that would be "a starting place" for talks with the Administration and Democrats, and will include liability protections and otherwise focus on schools, health care, and jobs, Bloomberg reported. Additional payments to individuals "could well be a part of it" and state and local funding is being looked at, he said.

"I would predict in the next couple of weeks if there's a new rescue package and I'm pretty sure there will be, I'll be unveiling another one," Senator McConnell said in Kentucky. With a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in many states, "I think the country needs one last boost," he said, while cautioning that there may not be support in the Senate for a bill exceeding $2 trillion like the CARES Act. The House-passed HEROES Act, which the Senate package would be a counterproposal to, would provide $3 trillion in relief.

The Washington Post reported fourth-ranking Senate Republican John Thune (R-SD) as saying the key right now is to get the White House and congressional Republicans "in the same place," and suggested a next bill is "definitely going to be heavily focused on the health-care crisis and making sure that we can get the schools open in the fall."

The AP on July 7 reported on perceptions of President Trump imperiling Republican control of the Senate — they currently have a 53-47 majority, and must defend 23 Senate seats compared to 12 Democratic seats — saying, "Both parties envision tight Senate races in closely divided states where moderate suburban voters, who have abandoned the GOP over Trump's penchant for sowing discord, could be key."

Health care

Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a Facebook livestream July 6 that the US's handle on the coronavirus outbreak is "really not good" and that action is needed to curb the spread. The European Union went up and then came down to baseline, he said, and "Now they're having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it's surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately."

In a Medium post July 6, 57 former health officials including former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former CDC Director Julie Gerberding called on the federal government to let "science and expertise guide our preparation and response to the serious and growing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic."

The surprise medical billing issue was cited in a Politico article reporting that a group of progressive operatives is launching a new organization targeting incumbents that include House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA).

The global EY Tax COVID-19 Response Tracker has been updated through June 30.

This Friday, July 10 at 12:00 p.m. ET, is the EY Webcast, Tax in the time of COVID-19: Update on the Employee Retention Credit, net operating losses and IRS developments. This week's panelists will provide updates on: (i) the legislative and economic landscape; (ii) the Employee Retention Credit (including a review of the second set of FAQs released by the government); (iii) Net operating losses — what are companies doing and has the recent guidance helped?; and ((iv) any IRS and breaking developments. Register.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
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   • Gary Gasper (
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   • Kurt Ritterpusch (