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September 15, 2020

What to expect in Washington (September 15)

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is campaigning in Florida, where President Trump won in 2016 by just over 1 percentage point, and a New York Times story said, "polls show the state is, true to form, sitting on a knife's edge — and looming again as a potential tipping point." (A Florida Atlantic University Poll released today showed the race at 50-50.) The story said "elections in Florida are won by driving up turnout among the faithful and running up margins in favorable terrain while losing more closely in hostile precincts," and noted the potential for Biden "to make inroads across the state's Republican-rich retirement communities" and for the President "to perform better with Hispanics" than he did in 2016.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $100 million to help Biden win in Florida and the Wall Street Journal cited a Bloomberg press release in reporting the "spending, which will primarily go toward digital and television ads in both Spanish and English, will focus in part on communicating with Hispanic voters," as "some surveys have shown Mr. Biden underperforming among Latino voters compared with Hillary Clinton four years ago."

In remarks in Delaware yesterday, Biden addressed the West Coast wildfires through the lens of climate change, saying "Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating and more deadly." President Trump was cited as denying the effects of climate change in contributing to the fires, and the situation is an additional issue in the election, which has thus far focused on the pandemic, economy and racial discord. The Washington Post reported, "the warming of the planet and its impact on daily life are now difficult to ignore."

A Wall Street Journal editorial criticized Biden's comments on the environment, saying he has "adopted a climate policy that is far more extreme than prevailed in the Obama years. As he repeated Monday, he is proposing a vast spending and regulatory agenda to remake the U.S. energy economy."


Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the House will take up a continuing resolution (CR) next week (the week of September 21) but drafting isn't done and he didn't announce the CR end-date. Options for extending government funding beyond September 30 remain an extension through a date in December or sometime in early 2021. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters yesterday, "The details of the CR have to be worked out and I hope we can finish that this week." It is also expected that an extension of highway spending and taxes will be attached to the CR.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) today debuted a new "Commitment to America" plan focused on GOP plans for the economy — including "extending the $2,000 child tax credit and making permanent Opportunity Zone credits" and "continuing proven pro-growth tax policies that increase take-home pay and encourage innovation" — and criticizing Democratic policy ideas.

On CNBC, Secretary Mnuchin said now is not the time to worry about the deficit and, on coronavirus relief, there are many areas of agreement between Democrats and Republicans, and "some of the areas we do have differences on the amounts."

A Wall Street Journal story checking in on the impasse on additional coronavirus relief between Republicans and Democrats — the Administration has signaled support for $1.5 trillion, while Democrats want at least $2.2 trillion — cited some tax-writers in illustrating that Senate Republicans are unsure how necessary additional relief is and some House Democrats feel an agreement is a must. "'If you'd asked me two or three weeks ago, I'd say very, very negative," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), referring to the economic impact of no further stimulus aid. But based on recent data, he said he now saw 'a lot less of an impact than I would have thought two weeks ago."' Some Democrats want to show more progress in helping families and businesses and are urging leaders to cut a deal. "I think that's an untenable outcome," said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), a Ways and Means member, of the prospect of no new aid. "The American people need the government to work on their behalf right now."

The House Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Ways & Means member Tom Reed (R-NY), is releasing a $1.5 trillion compromise relief plan.

Today at 1:00 p.m. ET is the international tax talk quarterly series with the EY Global Tax Desk Network. In an environment defined by continuous global change and shifting paradigms, multinationals are having to evaluate their global supply chains. COVID-19 supply interruptions, trade policy uncertainty, the evolving geopolitical landscape, and increasing customer and consumer demands are creating new risks. Our panelists will discuss how organizations can address these business challenges and manage their global tax profile amid disruption, with a focus on ASEAN and India. Register.


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