Tax News Update    Email this document    Print this document  

October 27, 2020

What to Expect in Washington (October 27)

The election is a week away. The Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump "has rallies planned later this week in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska" and "has told reporters he may do up to five rallies a day in the final days before the election." Democratic presidential nominee and former VP Joe Biden campaigns in Georgia today and Florida on Thursday, but his operation "relies on a more virtual approach."

The Washington Post said the Georgia campaigning sends "the strongest signal yet that Democrats are serious about trying to shake the Republican Party's decades-long grip on the second most populous state in the Deep South." The New York Times reported: "Joe Biden could win [Georgia] because Republicans have failed to keep up with its diverse population and shifting suburban politics."

University of Wisconsin/YouGov polls released October 26 showed former VP Biden leading President Trump among likely voters 52%-42% in Michigan, 52%-44% in Pennsylvania, and 53%-44% in Wisconsin, three of the primary battleground states. "Biden's lead is mostly due to wide leads among those who have already voted … " a report stated. "Trump partly compensates for his deficit among the early voters by earning majorities among the larger group of likely voters who have not yet cast ballots."

Another Times report, addressing speculation over the past year or more about Democrats who won House seats in 2018 in districts that President Trump won in 2016, said, "Once regarded as the most vulnerable incumbents, many Democrats who carried Trump districts in 2018 are poised to win re-election, boosting the party's chances of building its House majority."

Tax — There has been some disparity in analyses of Biden and Trump tax plans given the greater level of detail from Biden's campaign and the recognition that one of the President's signature first-term achievements was the 2017 tax reform law. He has called for a drop in the corporate rate to 20%, in the capital gains rate to 15%, and middle-class tax relief. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Fox Business October 26 that "we are deep into discussions about possible second term details for tax cuts and regulations," but "I don't see any reason why we have to put out a detailed plan." He said the President's "tax and regulatory cuts went to the middle income and lower income people … That will continue because he is going to stay on this pro-growth track."

Health — Politico reported October 26, "The Trump administration this week will announce a plan to cover the out-of-pocket costs of Covid-19 vaccines for millions of Americans who receive Medicare or Medicaid, said four people with knowledge of the pending announcement. Under the planned rule, Medicare and Medicaid will now cover vaccines that receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration … "

Coronavirus — Still no agreement on coronavirus relief and stimulus legislation as the clock ticks ahead of the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin October 26, following which a spokesman for the Speaker tweeted, in part: "we continue to eagerly await the Administration's acceptance of our health language, which includes a national strategic plan on … testing and tracing. We are hopeful their response will be positive as we also await the outcomes of talks between committee chairs. It is clear that our progress depends on Leader McConnell agreeing to bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to crush … the virus, honor our heroes — our essential workers — and put money in the pockets of the American people. The Speaker remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached before the election."

Politico reported October 26, "Traders in recent weeks have been piling into bets that a 'blue wave' election, in which Democrats also seize the Senate, will produce an economy-juicing blast of fresh fiscal stimulus of $3 trillion or more that carries the U.S. past the coronavirus crisis and into a more normal environment for markets."

Retirement — Today is the release of the "Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020" by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX).

Election mechanics — The Supreme Court October 26 "declined to lift a lower court ruling preventing the state from counting mail ballots that arrive as much as six days after Election Day" in Wisconsin, NBC News reported, in the latest of a series of developments regarding ballot deadlines as the pandemic increases the role of mail-in voting. The Court last week permitted ballots in Pennsylvania received by 5 p.m. November 6 to be counted.

In an interview posted by the Washington Post this morning, Edward Foley, who directs the election law program at Ohio State University, said of scenarios between now and the presidential inauguration January 20, "What we really want is the meeting of the electoral college to happen on December 14th and zero controversy or doubt or contestation after that. We may have a wild roller-coaster ride between November 3rd and December 14th in terms of litigation and uncertainty … "

SCOTUS — The Senate October 26 confirmed the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican to vote 'no.' Judge Barrett was subsequently sworn in. The Senate is out until Monday, November 9.


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