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January 12, 2022

What to expect in Washington (January 12)

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the Senate could act as soon as today toward passing voting rights legislation and taking “whatever steps necessary to address this chamber's rules in order to accomplish that goal,” and there have been signals that the chamber could be in session this weekend and potentially Monday’s federal holiday to work on the issue. President Biden delivered a speech on the issue in Georgia January 11, endorsing Senate rules changes to pass voting rights legislation, which Republicans oppose. There are no indications at this point that all 50 Democrats will support any changes to the Senate filibuster. “The Democratic caucus is still mulling a whole grab bag of proposals and hasn’t coalesced around a final option yet,” Politico reported.

COVID funding – Punchbowl reported House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as saying the White House will be pushing for a COVID-related emergency spending bill, “a supplemental appropriation, which I think would be an emergency legislation… I expect there to be additional sums, substantial additional sums will be requested, to deal with and confront and try to contend with the coronavirus.” The supplemental will likely be attached to or considered around the time of a bill to extend government funding beyond February 18. Roll Call reported Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) as saying, “There’s been discussion about what we need with regard to [COVID-19], both domestically and internationally.” The report said, “There’s no indication yet from Republicans about whether the party would broadly back more emergency funding to address the ongoing pandemic…”

BBBA – The Build Back Better Act (BBBA) looms in the background, and Democrats are describing the situation as an effort to achieve 50 votes, without directing any frustration toward Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) or other members. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said January 10, “Well, our conversations are continuing behind the scenes at a staff level. And I can assure you that – and assure the American people – that the President is going to continue to press to get Build Back Better done most importantly, to ensure we are lowering costs for Americans across the country – on childcare, on eldercare, on health care – addressing the climate crisis… We need 50 votes in order to get that legislation done. And we need to figure out what that looks like to get that legislation done.”

On January 11, during the President’s trip to Georgia, Psaki refuted that “there is a push to get Build Back Better passed by the State of the Union” address on March 1, saying, “We have not set a deadline... We are, of course, behind the scenes, engaged closely with staff, with members across the Democratic Party, and that work will continue…” She also pushed back against the characterization that talks had stalled with Senator Manchin, saying, “I would just say that we’re not going to detail, in any specifics, conversations we have with Senator Manchin or other members.”

Asked on “The View” January 11 about not yet getting the BBBA and some other priorities done, Senator Schumer said, “Well, some of it we have gotten done, and we did do the [American Rescue Plan] bill, which was probably the most significant, progressive piece of legislation since the Great Society, in 50 years, and we got that done. With 50 votes, we need to get every Democrat, and it’s a broad caucus, running from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin on board. We worked very hard to do it. So far, we’ve gotten people on board on the major bills that have come before us, but we’re working very hard on voting rights and BBB.”

A January 10 New York Times story said the United Mine Workers and West Virginia A.F.L.-C.I.O. supporting the BBBA could sway Senator Manchin to support some version of the bill. “[T]he decision of the labor groups to come out forcefully in support of Build Back Better could be significant. Mine workers are likely to be more persuasive to Mr. Manchin than the progressive activists who kayaked to his houseboat at a Washington marina to harangue him or the colleagues buttonholing him at Senate votes,” the story said.

Tax – An EY International Tax and Transaction Services Alert, “Foreign tax credit regulations revamp creditability rules for foreign income taxes and include several other key changes,” is available here.


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Washington Council Ernst & Young
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