Countdown to Election Day: 62 days

Important Indiana Election Dates:

October 5 - 2020 Voter Registration Ends

October 22 - Deadline to Request Mail-In Ballot

November 3 -  General Election Day

November 14 - Military/Overseas Ballots Must be Received (must be postmarked by November 3)

Happy Tuesday, friends. Local, state, and federal highlights in today’s memo include:

  • U.S. Says it Won’t Join WHO Linked Effort to Develop, Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine

  • Senator GOP ‘Goal’ is to Vote Next Week on ‘Targeted’ Coronavirus Relief Bill

  • The Payroll Tax Deferral Takes Effect Sept. 1. What it Really Means for your Paycheck

  • Treasury, IRS Issue Guidance on Payroll Tax Withholding Moratorium

  • Indiana Labor Unions go Online to Highlight Worker Issues

  • What’s Happening in Congress

  • Eli Lilly CEO: U.S. Should Share Vaccine

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.

 
 

U.S. Says it Won’t Join WHO Linked Effort to Develop, Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine


The Trump administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the World Health Organization is involved, a decision that could shape the course of the pandemic and the country’s role in health diplomacy.  

More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development and secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population.

The plan, which is co-led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, was of interest to some members of the Trump administration and is backed by traditional U.S. allies, including Japan, Germany and the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.

But the United States will not participate, in part because the White House does not want to work with the WHO, which President Trump has criticized over what he characterized as its “China-centric” response to the pandemic.

The Covax decision, which has not been previously reported, is effectively a doubling down by the administration on its bet that the United States will win the vaccine race. It eliminates the chance to secure doses from a pool of promising vaccine candidates — a potentially risky strategy. (Washington Post)

 
 

Senate GOP ‘Goal’ is to Vote Next Week on ‘Targeted’ Coronavirus Relief Bill


Senate Republican leaders hope to vote next week on what they are calling a “focused” and “targeted” coronavirus relief bill, setting up what they hope will be a tough political vote for Democrats shortly before November's elections.

The timing of the vote needs to be approved by the entire Senate Republican conference, which is scheduled to hold a conference call Tuesday morning with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (Wyo.) said Tuesday morning the “goal” is to vote on the legislation next week after the Senate returns from its August recess.

Barrasso said the legislation is “focused on getting people back to work, getting kids back to school.”

He said “it leaves out” what he called “the so many things that [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has put in her bill that are unrelated to coronavirus.”

But Barrasso noted the plan to vote on what is being called a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill next week still needs to be approved by the broader Senate Republican Conference, which is meeting via conference call with Mnuchin and Meadows. (The Hill)

 
 

The Payroll Tax Deferral Takes Effect Sept. 1. What it Really Means for your Paycheck


Some notes on the payroll tax deferral:

  • President Trump issued an executive order to defer the 6.2% tax employees pay toward Social Security from Sept. 1 until Dec. 31. This is only a deferral — not forgiveness of the tax owed.

  • The IRS issued guidance late last week, placing the responsibility on employers for collecting the tax deferred. It must be paid by April 30, or else penalties, interest and other taxes will apply.

  • Employees who partake in the payroll tax deferral would enjoy a temporary boost in their take-home pay for the remainder of the year. However, they will see smaller paychecks early next year as employers withhold and pay the deferred amount to the IRS.

 
 

Treasury, IRS Issue Guidance on Payroll Tax Withholding Moratorium


What’s new: The Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance (PDF) implementing the Presidential Memorandum issued on August 8, 2020, allowing employers to defer withholding and payment of the employee's portion of the Social Security tax if the employee's wages are below a certain amount.

Notice 2020-65, posted today on IRS.gov, makes relief available for employers and generally applies to wages paid starting September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

The employee Social Security tax deferral may apply to payments of taxable wages to an employee that are less than $4,000 during a bi-weekly pay period, with each pay period considered separately. No deferral is available for any payment to an employee of taxable wages of $4,000 or above for a bi-weekly pay period.

Today's notice postpones the time for employers to withhold and pay employee Social Security taxes.

Additional tax relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on IRS.gov.

 
 

Indiana Labor Unions go Online to Highlight Worker Issues


Central Indiana labor leaders and elected officials say they’re working on a number of issues, including the state’s gender pay gap and support for the federal HEROES Act. They discussed the issues Thursday night as part of a Labor Day Town Hall.

The virtual town hall provides labor leaders and politicians a chance to advocate for worker rights and equality. Along with the town hall, unions will be holding a rally at Monument Circle in Indianapolis on Sept. 5, just before Labor Day. 

David Bride, leader of a union for public employees, weighed in on the recent police shootings of Black people that sparked protests across the country. He says labor unions can and should be in discussions with officials to hold officers accountable for their actions.

“You can’t keep shooting unarmed Black people,” he said. “We can’t keep doing that and saying whatever we need to say to make it okay.”

Bride says Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) were invited to participate in the town hall, but both declined. (Indiana Public Media)

 
 

What’s Happening in Congress


House Democrats on Monday outlined a September agenda that includes funding the government for a few months beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, as well as consideration of a House Judiciary Committee bill that would decriminalize marijuana and expunge nonviolent federal cannabis convictions. The House is scheduled to resume work in Washington on Sept. 14. 

Democrats and the administration remain at loggerheads over the next coronavirus relief measure (The Hill), and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) next week will introduce a Republican-backed measure as an alternative to the Democrats’ $3.4 trillion version passed by the House in May (Reuters).

Postal Service oversight: House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that she plans to subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking documents she says he has been withholding from Congress. She said DeJoy has not turned over additional documents requested as part of a hearing last week; DeJoy told lawmakers he planned to resume some cost-cutting measures that have factored in widespread service delays, defying Democratic lawmakers who have sought to block his changes. DeJoy has testified that his cost-cutting and management changes will not impact on-time receipt of voters’ mailed ballots for November’s election. Maloney also sent a document request to Robert Duncan, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors (Reuters).

 
 

Eli Lilly CEO: U.S. Should Share Vaccine


Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks, whose company has a coronavirus treatment in Phase 3 of clinical trials, told "Axios on HBO" that it'd be smart to share with other countries rather than going America first.

  • Ricks, incoming chair of the industry group PhRMA, told me that the goal would be to "protect as much of the planet as we can, versus looking after only one country by itself — creating an island, which would be, I think, illusory."

The big picture: 66% of Americans don't want to share a vaccine right away with the rest of the world if the U.S. gets there first,according to a recent Harris poll. (Axios)

 
 

Important Dates


CANCELLED Wednesday, September 2 - 10:00 am                                                          Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Wednesday, September 9 - 9:00 am - Legislative Continuity Committee - Room 233

Wednesday, September 9 - 2:00 pm - Legislative Council, Audit and Financial Reporting Subcommittee - House Chamber

Thursday, September 10 - 1:00 pm - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Room 233

Tuesday, September 15 - 11:00 am - Corrections and Criminal Code Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 16 - 10:00 am - Agriculture and Natural Resources Interim Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Wednesday, September 16 - 10:00 am - Public Safety and Military Affairs Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, September 17 - 10:00 am - Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 23 - 10:00 am                                                                 Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Thursday, September 24 - 10:00 am - Public Safety and Military Affairs Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, September 24 - 10:00 am - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Monday, September 28 - 10:00 am - Code Revision Commission - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 30 - 10:00 am - Financial Institutions and Insurance Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 30 - 1:00 pm - Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 30 -  10:00 am - Probate Code Study Commission - Senate Chamber

Wednesday, October 7 - 10:00 am - Probate Study Commission - Senate Chamber

Thursday, October 8 - Fiscal Policy Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, October 8 - 10:00 am - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Room 233

Wednesday, October 14 - 10:00 am - Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Wednesday, October 21 - Probate Code Study Commission - Senate Chamber

 
 

By The Numbers …


COVID-19 Cases

*New cases: 721

Total cumulative cases reported Tuesday: 94,891

Total cumulative cases reported Monday: 94,196

Increase in cumulative cases: 695

Increase in cases reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 27,769

Increase in cases reported July 1-Aug. 1: 21,170

Increase in cases reported June 1-July 1: 11,122

Increase in cases reported May 1-June. 1: 16,065

COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 16

Total deaths: 3,093

Increase in deaths reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 322

Increase in deaths reported July 1-Aug. 1: 315

Increase in deaths reported June 1-July 1: 480

Increase in deaths reported May 1-June. 1: 914

Increase in deaths reported April 1-May 1: 997

COVID-19 Testing**

New tested individuals: 7,095

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Tuesday: 1,083,765

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Monday: 1,076,947

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 6,818

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.8%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 6.8%

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 6.7%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 5.2%

Increase in unique tested individuals reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 325,159

Increase in unique tested individuals reported July 1-Aug. 1: 268,890

Increase in unique tested individuals reported June 1-July 1: 223,820

Increase in unique tested individuals reported May 1-June 1: 166,257

Increase in unique tested individuals reported April 1-May 1: 85,264

**The department began including antigen test results in its data on Aug. 24.

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 18,567 (increase of 101)

Marion County new deaths: 0

Marion County cumulative deaths: 747

Marion County 7-day positivity rate unique individuals: 6.9%

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 3,957

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,337

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,039

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,327

Boone County cumulative cases: 847

Hancock County cumulative cases: 819

Morgan County cumulative cases: 597

Shelby County cumulative cases: 622

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 42.3%

ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients: 10.1%

Available ventilators: 83.6%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 2.6%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers

As of Tuesday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 6,036,569

U.S. deaths: 183,689

Global cases: 25,533,086

Global deaths: 851,647