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September 23, 2020

What to expect in Washington (September 23)

The brief impasse over government funding beyond September 30 was resolved with an agreement on farm and nutrition aid, and the House last night passed 359-57 a continuing resolution ("CR," H.R. 8337) to:

  • extend government funding beyond September 30 and through December 11
  • extend health extender provisions through December 11
  • extend surface transportation programs for one year, through September 30, 2021
  • transfer $13.6 billion to the Highway Trust Fund
  • extend the National Flood Insurance Program for one year, until September 30, 2021

The package, which clears Congress's pre-election must-do items, is expected to pass the Senate this week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee yesterday that while the economy is rebounding, "some industries particularly hard hit by the pandemic require additional relief. … We continue to try to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to pass a Phase IV relief package. I believe a targeted package is still needed, and the Administration is ready to reach a bipartisan agreement."

About a dozen moderate House Democrats may support a discharge petition that, with majority support in the House, could compel a vote on a bill (H.R. 7664) allowing unused Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to be spent. The Hill newspaper reported last night, "With the negotiations stalled over another round of emergency coronavirus relief, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) is poised to submit a discharge petition on Friday to force a vote on legislation to extend the PPP window so that more than $130 billion in unspent funds can go out the door."

Today (September 23), the Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing on "COVID-19: An Update on the Federal Response." Witnesses are Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; CDC Director Robert Redfield; HHS Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir; and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

Democratic members of the House Committee on Ways and Means held an organizational meeting yesterday given the loss of late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and addition of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and selected Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) to serve as Oversight Subcommittee Chairman.


New Washington Post/ABC polls: in Florida, President Trump leads 51%-47%; in Arizona, Trump leads 49%-48%.

The mechanics of the election are a focus because of the pandemic. An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal said: "Absentee votes in Wisconsin are due by Election Day, state law says. But on Monday a federal judge ordered the counting of ballots that arrive by Nov. 9, provided their postmarks say Nov. 3. After similar rulings in Pennsylvania and Michigan, none of the big three swing states from 2016 seems likely to have solid results on election night."

Today's Washington Post reported, "Pennsylvania Republicans will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the legality of allowing voters to return mail ballots up to three days after Election Day."


The IRS yesterday released Announcement 2020-12: "The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows qualifying small business owners to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in order to stay in business and pay their employees during the Coronavirus epidemic. Recipients of these loans are eligible for forgiveness of all or a portion of these loans if the loan proceeds are used in accordance with the CARES Act. This Announcement provides that lenders who make PPP loans that are later forgiven under the CARES Act should not file information returns or furnish payee statements to report the forgiveness."

Now under review by the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a final rule on Consolidated Net Operating Losses [TCJA].

On Friday, September 25, is the EY Webcast, "Tax in the time of COVID-19: Update on legislative, economic, regulatory and IRS developments," at 12:00 p.m. ET. The coronavirus (COVID-19) and the resulting economic crisis have made reacting to tax and trade developments more complicated and more difficult. Panelists will provide updates on: (i) the US legislative and economic landscape; (ii) breaking developments — federal and state; and (iii) what's happening at the IRS. Register.


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