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November 4, 2020

Both the Senate and House are in recess.

Election Results


  • The Associate Press declared Joe Biden the winner of Wisconsin and its ten electoral votes by 0.6%, or about 21,000 votes.
    • Before the state was called, the Trump Campaign announced that it would request an immediate recount of the votes, citing irregularities in several counties. Historically, recounts in Wisconsin have resulted in the final vote count being adjusted by a few hundred votes.
  • The Associated Press also declared Joe Biden the winner of Michigan and its 16 electoral votes by 1.2%, which is around 61,000 votes.
    • The Trump Campaign filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to stop vote counting in Michigan until the campaign is given “meaningful access” to observe the counting process and review the ballots that were already counted.


  • Republicans seem almost certain to hold the Senate, though votes are still being tallied in races in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia (2), North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
    • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) won her bid for reelection after Democratic candidate Sara Gideon conceded the race. Sen. Collins was considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans and her win increases the likelihood of Republicans maintaining their Senate majority.
    • Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) lost his bid for reelection to Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville.
    • Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) currently trails Democratic candidate Mark Kelly, and the Associated Press has called the race for Kelly. Sen. McSally has not yet conceded the race, and other outlets have yet to call the race.


  • As of the writing of this update Democrats are in control of 203 seats and Republicans are in control of 188 seats with 44 seats not yet decided. Democrats are still expected to retain control of the House.
    • Unexpectedly, not a single Republican incumbent has lost thus far.
    • Democrats flipped two districts, but the Republican incumbents in both were retiring.
    • Republicans have flipped seven districts. The Democratic majority in the next Congress may be significantly slimmer if Republicans are able to flip additional districts.
      • In a press conference today, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stated that in addition to the 7 pick-ups, an additional 11 seats have the Republican challenger leading.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a Dear Colleague letter in which she described the election as “challenging” while also pointing to the opportunities she sees for a Democratic House majority working with a Democratic President, indicating her belief that Joe Biden will win the election.

COVID-19 Relief

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his desire for Congress to pass a COVID-19 relief package before the end of the calendar year. Leader McConnell said that COVID-19 relief and government funding prior to the expiration of the Continuing Resolution (CR) on December 11 will be the Senate’s top post-election priorities.
    • Leader McConnell also announced that he and Speaker Pelosi will pursue an omnibus appropriations bill instead of another CR to fund the government and avoid a potential government shutdown.


  • The U.S. officially exited the Paris Climate Agreement today, marking one year since President Trump announced the withdrawal. A potential Biden Administration has indicated that it would rejoin the Agreement immediately.
    • Many members of the Agreement will update their climate commitments next year, the scope of which will be influenced by the outcome of the U.S. election.
  • The Department of the Interior sent its list of deferred parks maintenance projects to Congress yesterday but has not yet submitted the Land and Water Conservation Fund list, as is directed in the Great American Outdoors Act. The deadline for these lists was November 2.
    • The deferred maintenance projects included in the list were located in Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that T-Mobile will pay a $200M settlement to the U.S. Treasury after the probe into Sprint’s misuse of federal telecom subsidies that were meant to benefit low-income households.
    • In addition to the payment, which is the largest amount the FCC has ever secured, T-Mobile will begin a compliance plan to prevent any further subsidy misuse.

Other News

  • Multiple ballot measures on transportation issues passed last night:
    • California’s Prop 22 was approved to allow Uber and Lyft to continue to classify their employees as independent contractors.
      • As a reminder, a “yes” vote supported defining drivers as independent contractors and a no vote deferred to the California Assembly’s Bill 5 (2019) to decide whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors. 
    • Massachusetts’ measure to allow car owners and mechanics to access the same wireless vehicle data as dealers passed overwhelmingly.
    • Voters in Austin, Texas passed the $7B initiative to raise property taxes in order to fund significant mass transit improvements.
  • California also approved Prop 24 which expands the California Consumer Privacy Act beginning in 2023. The proposition will allow Californians to restrict how companies can use sensitive personal information and allow users to block the sharing of personal information, not just the sale of that information.
  • Virginia approved Virginia Question 1, Redistricting Commission Amendment. According to reports, a “yes” vote on Question 1 supported the transfer of the power to draw the state’s Congressional and legislative districts from the state legislature to a redistricting commission composed of state legislators and citizens and a “no” vote opposed the transfer.
  • Sports betting was legalized in all three of the states with ballot measures on the issue.
    • Louisiana approved the measure to allow sports betting, though state laws and taxation regulations must be established before it is available.
    • South Dakota voted to ratify a constitutional amendment to allow legal sports betting as early as next year and allow Native American tribes to conduct sports betting at their casinos.
    • Maryland also legalized sports betting and determined that the revenue generated will primarily be used to fund public education.
  • While election results are still being determined, Twitter has attached warning labels to tweets that prematurely claim victory, making it clear that votes are still being counted. Twitter labelled a Trump campaign tweet declaring victory in South Carolina and a tweet from Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler claiming a Biden victory in the state yesterday.
    • Facebook also labelled a video of President Trump’s speech claiming that he won the election early Wednesday morning, clarifying that vote counts will change as ballots continue to be counted.
  • A federal judge questioned the necessity of a court order to stop President Trump’s executive order blocking TikTok operations on November 12. This was prompted by last week’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone to block the Administration’s restrictions on TikTok, which effectively ended any imminent threat to TikTok.

Federal Register Notices

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their plan for phased cruise operation resumption. This framework applies to all cruise ships operating in U.S. waters and went into effect on October 30. The notice can be found here.
    • As reported yesterday, the U.S. cruise industry has announced a voluntary delay on cruises through 2020.

The Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC) will hold virtual meetings on December 3, December 10, and December 17 from 1:00-4:00pm ET. The notice can be found here.

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