COVID-19 UPDATE | FRIDAY, NOV. 6
November 6, 2020
Both the Senate and House are in recess.
- Neither candidate has solidified the needed 270 electoral votes to claim victory. Former Vice President Biden leads in all of the states that have not been called, except North Carolina.
- Georgia: Biden pulled ahead of President Trump in the state. The race remains too close to call, as Biden leads by fewer than 2,000 votes and both candidates have 49.4% of the vote.
- Georgia’s Secretary of State announced that given the slim margin, a recount is expected. In Georgia, a recount can be requested if the margin is less than 0.5% of votes cast. That recount cannot take place until the state has undergone a “risk limiting audit” and the state certifies the vote. That process is set to be finalized November 20 and the recount would need to be requested within two days of the certification.
- There are currently around 4,000 ballots left to be counted and military, overseas, and deficient ballots can be received through the end of the day.
- Pennsylvania: Biden also took the lead in Pennsylvania by over 14,000 votes, though no winner has been declared. If Biden were to win Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, his total electoral vote would exceed 270 and he would not have to win any additional states. A recount automatically happens if the winning margin is 0.5% or less, would need to be ordered by 5pm on November 12 and completed by November 24.
- According to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, over 100,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted. If current trends continue, it is projected that Biden would win by 70,000 votes once all votes are counted.
- Arizona: Biden currently leads the state by about 40,000 votes, or 1.3%. Approximately 185,000 votes remained to be counted, as of Friday afternoon. In Arizona, an automatic recount would only occur if the margin is less than 0.1%.
- Nevada: Biden’s lead in Nevada has increased to over 22,000 after an update from Clark County, giving Biden a 1.7% lead. An estimated 93% of votes have been counted as of Friday evening, and approximately 130,000 votes remain.
- Both Georgia Senate seats are headed for a runoff on Jan. 5. The races will determine the balance of power in the Senate for the 117th Congress.
- The Arizona Senate race between Sen. Martha McSally (R) and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly was called for Mr. Kelly this morning by the Washington Post, adding another to the list of outlets that have called the race since Tuesday. The former astronaut and declared Senator-Elect adds one more pick up to the Democrats’ roster, bringing the total gain to one seat.
- According to the Associated Press, Democrats have won 212 seats in the House so far and Republicans have won 194, with 28 races not yet called. Democrats lead in eight races while Republicans lead in 19 with one race in Louisiana headed to a runoff.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) formally announced that she will run for another two-year term as Speaker. The selection process will begin on November 18 and it is unclear whether she, or any other member of Democratic House leadership will be challenged.
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also announced that he will run for Majority Leader in the 117th Congress.
- House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) sent a letter to the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criticizing President Trump’s recent Executive Order reclassifying federal workers.
- The letter stated that the reclassification would put IRS workers in a position to “lose all protections against adverse personnel actions and replace non-partisan, professional civil servants with partisan hacks who will do Mr. Trump’s bidding.”
- Reps. David Scott (D-GA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) have announced they are running to become the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee next Congress after current Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) lost his reelection bid. Rep. Scott would be next in line based on seniority alone. Rep. Scott’s Dear Colleague letter can be found here. Rep. Costa’s can be found here.
- It has been widely rumored that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper may resign in the coming days regardless of the election outcome. Many defense officials are urging Esper to stay in his position for national security reasons and to ensure a peaceful presidential transition.
- In the case of a Biden victory, there may be additional cabinet secretaries who do not remain in their positions through the end of their term.
- The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) surface transportation advisory committee is drafting a series of recommendations on issues including:
- How operators can address COVID-19 challenges.
- Requirements for vendors and third-party suppliers to pay for employees vetting instead of the government.
- Cybersecurity threat information sharing.
- The Department of Commerce announced an internal investigation into possible circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese drill pipe, casing, and tubing. The investigation will determine if Chinese hot-rolled steel sheet and strip was exported to the Philippines and Brunei for processing before being exported to the U.S.
- President Trump announced that James Danly will replace Neil Chatterjee as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Danly was previously general counsel of FERC. Chatterjee will serve out the remainder of his term, which ends June 2021. It has been reported that the White House was not pleased with Chatterjee’s support of a carbon tax.
- Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), resigned Friday according to a Department of Energy press release. Gordon-Hagerty was confirmed to the position in 2018 and was the first woman to be the Administrator of NNSA. Dr. William Bookless, who was the Principal Deputy Administrator of the NNSA, will take over as Acting Administrator.
- The Department of Labor’s employment report found that the U.S. economy gained 638,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. In September, the economy gained 672,000 jobs and had an unemployment rate of 7.9%.
- The World Trade Organization (WTO) indefinitely postponed its General Council meeting that was set to take place on Monday, citing the health situation and current events. It was unlikely that a decision would have been reached on the next Director General at that meeting.
- The U.S. remains the only WTO member blocking former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from being selected. This objection may be withdrawn under a Biden Administration.
- Atlas Air announced that it will not return the CARES Act funds it received. As a reminder, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC) two weeks ago requested that Atlas Air, along with Kalitta Air, Western Global Airlines and Amerijet International, return more than $600M in CARES Act relief funds they claimed. It is unclear what other cargo airlines will do with their CARES Act funds.
- The European Union (EU) will approve retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. on Monday as part of the ongoing Airbus-Boeing subsidy dispute. The decision will come from EU trade ministers and the tariffs will be imposed by the European Commission. As a reminder, the EU won a case before the WTO regarding excessive U.S. subsidies which allowed the EU to retaliate with approximately $4B worth of U.S. goods.
- According to a U.S. Travel Association report, travel spending last week increased 3% from the previous week, totaling $12.9B.
The month of October saw $41.6B of travel spending losses, which was a 6% increase from September.