On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year

On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year
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THE BIG DEAL—Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal: President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE and congressional Democratic leadership on Thursday discussed the need for a coronavirus deal during the end-of-the-year lame duck session.

Biden, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Retired Army general: 'We can't have demonstrators showing up at a state Capitol with damn long guns' Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Biden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) spoke on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, with cases climbing across the country, and the economic turmoil, according to a joint readout from Biden's transition team and the congressional Democrats.

"They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families," according to the readout.

The background: The call comes as deep divisions are already casting doubt on Congress's ability to get a coronavirus deal before the end of the year.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney walks us through the stalemate here.



Business groups shudder at thought of Sanders as Labor secretary: Chatter in Washington about the prospect of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate MORE (I-Vt.) being nominated for Labor secretary is creating anxiety among business groups and optimism among unions.

  • Businesses are quick to push back on the idea of President-elect Joe Biden nominating Sanders, a sign they would likely mount a PR and lobbying campaign to deny him confirmation.
  • They might not need to go that far. His nomination would be seen as a long shot if Republicans maintain control of the Senate, and his absence would leave Democrats with one less member of their caucus, at least temporarily.
  • Still, business groups are firing warning shots now and making their opposition clear.

“Naming such a polarizing choice would be a pretty big bait-and-switch for a president-elect who ran on bringing the country together to solve problems,” said Matt Haller, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at the International Franchise Association.

The Hill’s Alex Ganigtano tells us more about K Street’s concerns with a potential Secretary Sanders.

Bernie’s interest: Sanders on Wednesday said that, if asked, he would accept the position of Labor secretary.


"I want to do everything I can to protect the working families of this country who are under tremendous duress right now and whether that is in the Senate, whether that's in the Biden administration, who knows? Let's see how that unfolds," Sanders said during an interview with CNN when asked if he was eyeing a position in Biden's Cabinet.

"If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would," Sanders said when pressed if he would accept a job as Labor secretary.

Where unions stand: As a presidential candidate earlier this year, Sanders said he would aim to double union membership if elected. Several union leaders who spoke with The Hill said they would be thrilled to have Sanders atop the Labor Department. But not all unions are trying to put Sanders atop Biden’s list.

Controversial Trump nominee Judy Shelton to pass Senate next week: Judy Shelton, President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE’s controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve, will receive a vote on the Senate floor next week and is expected to pass.

Shelton’s nomination appeared dead in the water when Republican leaders decided not to bring her up for a vote before the election. But now, she’s on the precipice of confirmation. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton tells us how we got here. 

Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealIRS says start of tax filing season delayed until Feb. 12 On The Money: Twenty states raise minimum wage at start of new year | Trade group condemns GOP push to overturn Biden victory | Top Democrat: Georgia runoffs will influence push for ,000 checks Top Democrat: Outcome of Georgia runoffs will influence push for ,000 checks MORE (D-Mass.) said Thursday that Congress could pass legislation to help people save for retirement as soon as this year.

"I think retirement savings is going to be very, very important going forward," Neal said at a virtual event hosted by The Hill. He added that the next round of retirement legislation could be passed "in a lame-duck session or certainly very early next year."

The background: Neal and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyGrowing number of lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege Overnight Health Care: US sets record for daily COVID-19 deaths with over 3,800 | Hospitals say vaccinations should be moving faster | Brazilian health officials say Chinese COVID vaccine 78 percent effective The Hill's Morning Report - A dark day as Trump embraces 'special' rioters MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, last month introduced bipartisan legislation with a host of provisions aimed at helping people save for retirement. 

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more about that push here.


  • More than 700,000 Americans filed their first applications for unemployment insurance last week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
  • The federal deficit for October, the first month of fiscal 2021, hit $284 billion, over double the deficit from last October and roughly half the full annual deficit of 2016.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Thursday that the U.S. economy will likely need further support from Congress and the central bank even if a coronavirus vaccine becomes available by the end of the year.
  • Stocks closely tied to a rebound from the coronavirus pandemic fell Thursday as the market’s post-election gains dwindled.


  • A group of 165 companies and industry groups are reportedly urging the European Union’s antitrust enforcers to take swift action on Google, accusing the U.S.-based tech giant of giving its own services preferential placement in search results. 
  • A new bipartisan bill aims to help the solar energy industry take advantage of a tax credit.