2020 Election Recap
As the 2020 election season comes to a close, the BSCAI government affairs team has put together a brief recap of the election results and where things currently stand in the race for the White House and Congress.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to be the winner of the U.S. presidential election after he secured over 270 Electoral College votes. In states that are still too close to call, Biden currently leads in Arizona and Georgia while President Donald Trump leads in North Carolina.
Projected Electoral Votes:
Joe Biden - 279
Donald Trump - 217
Too Close to Call - 42
*Striped states indicate party flips from 2016
Senate Republicans entered the 2020 election with a 53-47 majority and were tasked with defending 23 seats compared to just 12 seats for Senate Democrats. Following Election Day, control of the U.S. Senate remains uncertain as Republicans currently hold 50 seats while the Democrats hold 48 seats, with two races outstanding. The Democrats flipped seats in Arizona and Colorado while Republicans flipped a seat in Alabama.
The fate of the Senate will come down to two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5, 2021. Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler both finished below 50% in their races on Election Day, triggering the runoff elections in January. Senator Perdue is running for a full six-year term while Senator Loeffler is running in a special election to serve out the remaining two years of former Senator Johnny Isakson’s term.
If Republicans win one or both races, they will retain control of the Senate with a 52-48 or 51-49 majority. If Democrats win both races, they will take control of a divided 50-50 Senate due to the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote.
Senate Balance of Power:
Republicans: 50 Seats
Democrats: 48 Seats
- Alabama (Tommy Tuberville over Doug Jones)
- Arizona (Mark Kelly over Martha McSally)
- Colorado (John Hickenlooper over Cory Gardner)
January Runoff Elections:
- Georgia: David Perdue (R) vs. Jon Ossoff (D)
- Georgia Special: Kelly Loeffler (R) vs. Raphael Warnock (D)
*Striped states indicate party flips from the last election
U.S. House of Representatives
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats have retained control of the House of Representatives for the 117th Congress. However, Democrats unexpectedly lost seats to Republicans and will see their majority shrink in 2021. House Democrats entered Election Day with a 232-197 majority but Republicans are projected to add at least nine seats, with several more close races trending in their favor. If the current results hold in the seven uncalled races, the final Democratic majority will be 222-213.
House Balance of Power (current projections):
Too Close to Call: 7
- CA-39, CA-48, FL-26, FL-27, IA-01, MN-07, NM-02, OK-05, SC-01
Too Close to Call Races:
- CA-21 (GOP up by 4,206 votes) - GOP GAIN
- CA-25 (GOP up by 159 votes) – GOP HOLD
- IA-02 (GOP up by 47 votes) – GOP GAIN
- NY-02 (GOP up by 44,898 votes) – GOP HOLD*
- NY-11 (GOP up by 37,158 votes) – GOP GAIN*
- NY-22 (GOP up by 28,421 votes) – GOP GAIN*
- UT-04 (GOP up by 1,780 votes) – GOP GAIN
*New York is still processing thousands of outstanding mail-in ballots so these races remain too early to call
*Striped states indicate party flips from the last election
OSHA Issues Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidance on ensuring adequate ventilation throughout the work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA recommends that employers work with a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to consider steps to optimize building ventilation. The following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19:
- Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.
- Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.
- Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible.
- Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.
- Be sure exhaust air is not pulled back into the building from HVAC air intakes or open windows.
- Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to increase clean air, especially in higher-risk areas.
- When changing filters, wear appropriate personal protective equipment. ASHRAE recommends N95 respirators, eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, or face shields), and disposable gloves.
- Make sure exhaust fans in restrooms are fully functional, operating at maximum capacity, and are set to remain on.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
OSHA Issues Guidance on Frequently Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance and an accompanying one-pager to help employers understand which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. The one-pager and guidance document provide available resources that address the most frequently cited standards, including Respiratory Protection, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, Personal Protective Equipment and the General Duty Clause.
OSHA is providing the guidance to help employers protect workers and increase compliance with OSHA requirements. OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses to identify workplace hazards, provides advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assists in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
SBA Releases PPP Loan Forgiveness Factsheet
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Factsheet which provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply for loan forgiveness of a PPP loan. A borrower can apply for forgiveness once it has used all loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness.
Borrowers can apply for forgiveness any time up to the maturity date of the loan. If borrowers do not apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, then PPP loan payments are no longer deferred and borrowers will begin making loan payments to their PPP lender.
Federal Reserve Reduces Minimum Loan Size for Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve Board recently adjusted the terms of the Main Street Lending Program to provide more targeted support to small and medium-sized businesses. The minimum loan size for three Main Street facilities available to for-profit and non-profit borrowers has been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 and the fees have been adjusted to encourage the provision of these smaller loans. More information on how to apply for a loan through the Main Street Lending Program can be found here.
The Board and Department of the Treasury also clarified that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of up to $2 million may be excluded for purposes of determining the maximum loan size under the Main Street Lending Program, if certain requirements are met.
The Main Street Lending Program supports lending to small and medium-sized for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the COVID-19 pandemic but lack access to credit on reasonable terms. To allow borrowers time to recover from the pandemic, the program offers several five-year loan options, with deferred principal and interest payments for qualified businesses and nonprofits. Loan documents reflecting the new terms are expected to be available to registered lenders within the next week.
To date, the Main Street Lending Program has made almost 400 loans totaling $3.7 billion. The program was established with the approval of the Treasury Secretary and with $75 billion in equity provided by the Treasury Department from the CARES Act.