Create or retrieve your password by clicking here


November 10, 2020

The Senate is in session today. The House will return next week.

Election Results

  • The North Carolina Senate election ended today when Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Sen. Tillis will go on to his second term after achieving victory in the most expensive Congressional race in history ($282M, counting both candidate expenditures and outside groups).
  • While votes are still being counted from the Presidential election, voters in Georgia are preparing for two Senate Runoff elections on January 5 after neither race ended with a candidate securing 50% of the vote.
    • Democrat Jon Ossoff will again face incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R), who was first elected in 2014. Their first match up, on November 3, ended 49%-47% with Sen. Perdue holding an approximately 90,000, or 2%, vote lead over Ossoff.
    • Incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) will face off against Democratic challenger Reverend Raphael Warnock after the two received the highest vote tallies in an open election. Six other candidates received more than 1% of the vote.
      • Sen. Loeffler advanced to the January runoff after defeating Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), 25.9% to Collins’ 20%.
      • Warnock, who received 32.9% of the vote in the General Election, will face a Republican electorate perhaps united behind a single candidate in January.
  • Control of the Senate hinges on the outcome of the Georgia runoff elections. Should both Ossoff and Warnock win their races, the Senate will be tied at 50-50 with Vice President-Elect Harris as the tiebreaker, pushing the Democrats into the majority.

Presidential Transition

  • The Biden transition team released a roster of agency review teams. These teams will assess federal agencies and prepare to assume control of them after inauguration. The full list of teams and their members may be found here.
    • The team for the Department of Transportation, Amtrak, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Maritime Commission will be led by Phil Washington, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
    • Jason Miller, former Deputy Director of the National Economic Council under President Obama, will lead the team for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
    • Arun Majumdar, who was the head of the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects-Energy Agency, will lead President-Elect Biden’s transition team for the Department of Energy.
    • Cecelia Martinez, co-founder of the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy and a member of Biden’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council, will head the transition team for the Council on Environmental Quality. Many other team members throughout the transition have significant climate and environmental experience.
    • President-Elect Biden’s transition team for the Department of the Interior will be led by Kevin Washburn, a law professor at the University of Iowa and a former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs during the Obama Administration. Washburn is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and multiple other team members have ties to Native American tribes. The Interior team does not include any members with oil or gas backgrounds.
    • Geovette Washington, Chief Legal Officer at the University of Pittsburgh and former General Counsel at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Obama Administration, will head the team assessing the Department of Commerce and Export-Import Bank.
    • Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under the Obama Administration, will head the team assessing the Department of Defense.
  • Today, the Trump Administration escalated its standoff with the Biden transition team on multiple fronts.
    • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while making public remarks at the State Department, said that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump Administration.”
    • Multiple federal agencies have announced that they will not cooperate with the Biden transition team until the General Services Administration makes a formal determination of Biden’s victory and authorizes transition activities. Among these agencies are the US Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapy after it had been successfully used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children. The authorization, which comes before securing full FDA approval, marks a milestone in addressing COVID-19, which has to date lacked dedicated therapeutics.
    • Lilly announced it had signed a deal with the U.S. government for $375M to deliver 300,000 doses of the treatment.
  • COVID-19 continues to increase globally, with 518,000 new cases reported worldwide on Monday. In the United States, 130,553 new cases were reported on Monday, comprising a quarter of the new cases across the planet.



  • As expected, there were no major shifts in Senate leadership today as both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were reelected by their respective caucuses. Broader leadership also remained largely the same for both Republicans and Democrats. One shift is that Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) have been added to the leadership team as Vice Chairs of the Policy and Communications Committee and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is no longer in leadership.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee released its fiscal year (FY) 2021 legislation amid renewed hopes that an omnibus appropriations package may be agreed to by the end of this Congress. Legislative text, report language, and bill highlights for all 12 bills can be found here. Below are the discretionary topline numbers for each appropriations bill.
    • Agriculture-FDA: $23.3B
    • Commerce-Justice-Science: $75.5B
    • Defense: $696B
    • Energy and Water: $51.8B
    • Financial Services-General Government: $24.1B
    • Homeland Security: $69.8B
    • Interior-Environment: $38.2B
    • Labor-Health and Human Services-Education: $184.5B
    • Legislative Branch: $3.6B
    • Military Construction-Veterans Affairs: $113.1B
    • State-Foreign Operations: $55.2B
    • Transportation-Housing and Urban Development: $74.8B
  • The Senate’s appropriations bills contained a few notable points:
    • The Department of Homeland Security bill is roughly in line with its House counterpart, but the Senate language contains $2B for the construction of a border wall, as well as maintained levels of funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention.
    • Under the Senate’s proposal, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding would remain flat for FY 2021, running counter to modest increases included in the House passed bill and a White House proposal from earlier in the year.
    • Though President Trump signed into law earlier this year an act to undertake a nationwide broadband mapping effort, Senate appropriators proposed only $15M for that purpose. This falls $50M dollars short of the $65M in funding sought by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS).
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a nomination hearing today for the following.
    • Dr. Greg Autry, of California, to be Chief Financial Officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    • Mr. Daniel Huff, of Massachusetts, to be Assistant Secretary of the Department of Commerce
    • Mr. Nathan Simington, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
    • In Simington’s written answers to the Committee regarding his nomination, he shared that he does not believe any of his recent work within the Commerce Department should require a recusal from potential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rulemakings regarding social media companies and Section 230. Most notably, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he will attempt to hold Simington’s confirmation until he recuses himself from any FCC Section 230 rulemaking, which Simington would not commit to do.


  • The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 (H.R. 8294) is slated for consideration on the House floor next week. The bill is sponsored by 45 House Democrats and would codify regulations and invest $3.5B in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships over five years to expand workforce development in response to COVID-19’s economic impact.
    • A bill summary by the House Committee on Education and Labor can be found here and a section-by-section can be found here.


  • The Department of Justice approved Uber’s more than $2B acquisition of Postmates. Both companies published a regulatory filing today, in which Uber said that it will waive contracts with 800 restaurants in 11 major communities that require the use of Postmates for all deliveries.
  • Late Monday evening, President Trump removed Michael Kuperberg, the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the National Climate Assessment. This move comes days after Betsy Weatherhead, formerly of climate analytics firm Jupiter Intelligence, was selected to lead the study.
  • OMB will move forward with preparing President Trump’s budget request for FY 2022. The move is another sign of the Trump Administration taking steps related to a second term.
  • The Chief Counsel of the IRS raised the possibility of issuing guidelines on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that would not have to be paid back. This is in response to complaints from businesses that the process to request loan forgiveness had been unclear.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to conclude its review of the fixes proposed by Boeing for the 737 MAX and move towards ungrounding the fleet in the coming days. Administrator Steve Dickson reported that the FAA is in its final stages of assessing the safety issues that led to the fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and determining whether they have been resolved.

Other News

  • According to reports, plans to establish an “air bridge,” or safe travel corridor, between certain airports in the U.S. and the European Union (EU) have been put on hold due to rising COVID-19 cases.
    • A Trump Administration official, who has not been publicly identified, stated, “at a minimum, we’re weeks away from having an agreement with another country on an air bridge. The reason that we’re not moving faster with an agreement is because the [virus] metrics and the caseloads are not favorable.”
  • Yesterday, the EU placed new tariffs on U.S. rum, brandy, vodka, and vermouth, as well as aircraft, cheeses, seafood, and other products. These tariffs are part of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) retaliation against the U.S. as part of the dispute over government subsidies for Boeing and Airbus.
  • The Supreme Court today heard oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Chief Justice John Roberts expressed an inclination to preserve most of the law, saying that it would be hard to argue that Congress intended the ACA to end entirely if it the individual mandate were to be ended. Justice Kavanaugh seemed to concur, opining that the mandate could be excised without the rest of the law needing to be ended.

The Federal Reserve formally highlighted climate change as a potential threat to the stability of the nation’s financial system in its semiannual financial stability report. This is the first time the Federal Reserve has acknowledged climate change as such a risk, and the Fed noted that it is in the process of evaluating ways to explore the full implications of climate change on the economy.

« »