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October 12, 2020

What to Expect in Washington (October 12)

A next coronavirus relief/stimulus bill is even more on the ropes after the Administration's $1.8 trillion offer got hit from both sides over the weekend. Some Senate Republicans told White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during a Saturday call that some elements of the proposal were anathema to GOP beliefs and its enactment would ensure control of the chamber would be lost in the elections. However, some members still back President Trump's call to "go big" on a bill and White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow predicted any deal reached could win requisite support from Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her members Saturday the offer was deficient in areas including:

  • the absence of any response on a strategic plan to crush the virus;
  • Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit expansions;
  • childcare assistance; and
  • Unemployment Insurance.

Regarding the Senate Republican/White House call airing concerns about the $1.8 trillion relief offer, third-ranking Senate Republican John Barrasso's (R-WY) comments that proposed eligibility expansions for Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies represented an "enormous betrayal" and CoS Meadows predicting a furious response from the President were widely reported. The Washington Post cited Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) as saying advancing such a relief bill would prove the "death knell" of the GOP majority.

Kudlow said on CNN Sunday, "I don't think it's dead at all. I spoke to Secretary Mnuchin last evening. Look, don't forget, the Republicans in the Senate put up their own bill a few weeks ago and got 53 votes, I think it was. So, they united. I think, if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it." He also suggested President Trump could propose a higher total offer.

Members of both parties and chambers were encouraging leaders to reach a deal. In a Fox Business interview October 11, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, "President Trump is right to want a big stimulus package. My Republican colleagues I listened to yesterday, quite frankly, I appreciate them, I admire them, but they're wrong. A bigger number is good." Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, "People in need can't wait until February. 1.8 trillion is significant & more than twice Obama stimulus. It will allow Biden to start with infrastructure. Obama won in 08 by doing the right thing on TARP instead of what was expedient. Make a deal & put the ball in McConnell court."

In a letter to Congress yesterday, Meadows and Secretary Mnuchin called for authority to spend unused Paycheck Protection Program funds.

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett begin today.

Election — A story in the October 11 Washington Post focused on the importance of Pennsylvania in the presidential election, where Biden leads by an amount Hillary Clinton had at this point in 2016 and lost by Election Day; President Trump is focused on his standing; and mail-in voting is allowed but ballots received after Election Day — the deadline is November 6 if they are postmarked before November 3 — could be challenged by Republicans. A key factor in the election is mail-in voting, which Democrats generally favor more than Republicans.

"Both sides now see Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral college votes, as a must-win prize on the path to the 270 needed to win the White House, according to Democratic and Republican strategists. They also increasingly view the battle for those votes as one that could well continue beyond Election Day — with a growing list of balloting disputes and lawsuits setting the stage, if the race is close, for a contested election reminiscent of the Florida drama that transfixed the nation after the 2000 election," the report said.

An ABC/Post poll reported October 11 showed Democratic nominee Biden leading President Trump nationally 54%-42% among likely voters.

Biden is travelling to Ohio today, with stops in Toledo and Cincinnati. President Trump is planning to attend an event in Florida. "President Trump has asked his campaign to put him on the road every single day from now until Nov. 3," Axios reported.

Democrat Jaime Harrison reported raising a record $57 million in the third quarter in his South Carolina Senate race against Senator Graham.

The October 12 Wall Street Journal said the regular election in Georgia may go to runoff along with the Special Election race, potentially leaving two Senate seats unknown until January. "There's a chance that we could be 49-49 November 4th, with two seats in Georgia in a runoff," Senator David Perdue (R-GA) said.

Global tax — This morning, the OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS October 12 published "blueprints" responding to tax challenges arising from the digitalization — on Pillar One, dealing with the reallocation of taxing rights, and Pillar Two, introducing a global minimum tax — and said work will continue into the middle of 2021.

In a cover statement on the release of the blueprints, the 137 participating countries said, "We agree to swiftly address the remaining issues with a view to bringing the process to a successful conclusion by mid-2021 and to resolve technical issues, develop model draft legislation, guidelines, and international rules and processes as necessary to enable jurisdictions to implement a consensus based solution."

The reports are availabe here:

Pillar One

Pillar Two


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For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
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