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What's Ahead in Washington

White House Floats New Covid Deal to Pelosi as McConnell Remains Skeptical
President Donald Trump is once again back at the table to negotiate a multitrillion-dollar stimulus deal with just weeks to go before the election, the latest sudden turn in talks that have whipsawed back and forth for months.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin delivered a $1.8 trillion proposal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday — the GOP’s most substantial offer yet to Democrats, just days after Trump declared the talks were over until after the November election.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone for roughly 30 minutes Friday afternoon, during which "the Secretary returned to the table with a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have," according to a Pelosi spokesperson. But Democrats said they are still waiting for more details as the two parties continue haggling over the total price tag.

But even if the two reach an agreement on a stimulus package, Pelosi and Mnuchin will be facing strong headwinds in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been skeptical of the prospects of muscling through a massive bill this month.

McConnell reiterated Friday that it was "unclear" whether a deal would get through before Nov. 3 and emphasized that the Senate's priority is the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Asked whether there will be a vote on stimulus before the election, McConnell says the first priority is Barrett’s nomination “even if an agreement” on a relief deal is reached.
More from Politico

 
Senate GOP, Setting Aside Covid-19 Fears, On Track for Quick Barrett Confirmation This Month
Senate Republican leaders are plotting a quick confirmation vote for Amy Coney Barrett this month, confident that enough senators will return to give her a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and setting aside fears the spread of Covid-19 in GOP circles could derail the effort.

The move comes as Barrett -- who has already spoken to more than two dozen GOP senators -- is beginning to hear directly from Senate Democrats in private meetings about their concerns as the nominee gears up for contentious hearings set to begin Monday.
From CNN


Pelosi Says Presidential Removal Bill Is Not About Trump
 “This legislation applies to future presidents but we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tells reporters, referring to Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis.

Pelosi tells reporters the bill is not about Trump but “he shows the need for us to create a process”

The bill would set up a commission to help evaluate whether a sitting president should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment.
From Bloomberg News Reports


 
The House is out of session the week of Oct. 12, 2020
The Senate is in session the week of Oct. 5, 2020.


 
Highlighted Senate Committee Hearings:
Oct. 12, 13, 14, 15
Senate Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
Nomination of the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

 
 

Not to be missed


Children’s Hospitals Could Lose Millions
Children’s hospitals at risk of losing millions in payments for treating low-income patients are looking to Congress for help after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take their case.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wants Congress to address the issue as it deals with another upcoming funding deadline, according to a spokesman.

The high court declined Monday to take up a Department of Health and Human Services rule that decreases Medicaid payments to safety-net hospitals that serve low-income patients as well as patients with Medicare or private insurance.

Children’s hospitals are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the change because they serve a significant number of patients who have private insurance, Aimee Ossman, vice president of policy analysis and implementation at the Children’s Hospital Association, said.

The safety net payments are designed to shore up those hospitals by helping them defray the cost of caring for uninsured patients and those whose insurance—typically Medicaid—doesn’t cover the full cost of their care.
From Bloomberg News Reports
 

EU Wine, Whiskey Duties Seen Making U.S. Sellers ‘Punching Bag’
 Wine and spirits distributors and importers, many of them small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, are pressing the Trump administration to lift tariffs on European goods, saying the levies hurt Americans most.

“As a small business, you never think your government is going to be the most difficult burden in your journey,” said Ben Aneff, president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance and managing partner of Tribeca Wine Merchants in New York City. “It’s not fair for us to be a punching bag in a trade dispute.”

The distributors and importers are pleading for the government to lift its duties on specific products from the European Union, including Scotch and Irish whiskeys, liqueurs, cordials, and wine. Covid-19 outbreaks forced bars and restaurants to shutter, further hurting the wine and spirits industry.
From Bloomberg News Reports
 
 
Non-profits Lost Jobs Due to Covid-19
Nonprofits have lost nearly a 1 million jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, according to a report from Independent Sector. About 7% of nonprofits are expected to close this year, according to the report, released Thursday.

“Across COVID-19 research, it is clear that nonprofits of all sizes are struggling financially, reporting overall revenue declines with varying levels of losses,” the report said.
 
 
Southwest May Implement Layoffs and Furloughs
Southwest Airlines is famous within the notoriously volatile airline industry for earning 47 consecutive years of profits and avoiding layoffs and furloughs throughout its half-century history. However, since July, management has been warning that demand isn't recovering quickly enough to enable the airline to support its current payroll.

As recently as last week, it seemed like the federal government was on the verge of providing additional relief funding to U.S. airlines, enabling Southwest to avoid painful cuts. Unfortunately, that still hasn't happened. In a message to employees this week, CEO Gary Kelly said that Southwest Airlines would approach its unions to ask for temporary concessions. If negotiations fail -- and additional federal funding doesn't arrive in time -- the airline will implement the first layoffs and furloughs in its history.
More here.
 

KBS Best

Burns & McDonnell Honored for Client Satisfaction
For the 10th year, Burns & McDonnell has been selected as a winner of PSMJ Resources’ Premier Award for Client Satisfaction. The award, given to architecture, engineering and construction firms who deliver a truly exceptional client experience, is the only industry designation measuring firms’ commitment to client experience.

“The Premier Award for Client Satisfaction is one we are very proud and honored to receive,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell. “This award exemplifies our mission of ‘Making Our Clients Successful’ and validates the work we do to deliver a best-in-class client experience.”
Read more
 
Congratulations from KBS to the entire team at Burns & McDonnell. 
 
City of Kansas City Awarded $4 million grant
The City of Kansas City has received a more than $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD Great Plains Regional Administrator Jason Mohr joined Mayor Quinton Lucas and other city officials for the  award ceremony to present $4,003,778 to protect families and children from lead and other health hazards in their homes.   

The city received funding through HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction (LBPHR) Grant Program to identify and clean up dangerous lead in low-income families’ homes and HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding to help communities with housing-related health and safety hazards in addition to lead-based paint hazards.  
Read more
 
KBS partner Matt Roney and the entire KBS team offer their congratulations to Mayor Lucas and the city for winning this important grant. 
 

 
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