On The Money: ‘One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline

On The Money: ‘One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—’One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal: The lead negotiators haggling for another round of emergency coronavirus relief met in person Wednesday for the first time in weeks, with both sides citing headway but no deal to report.

The surprise meeting marked the first time the pair had met face-to-face since Aug. 7, when the talks over another massive round of coronavirus aid hit a brick wall over differences in both the size of the package and specific spending goals within it.

The resumption of talks comes as both parties are facing increasing pressure to set aside their differences and secure an agreement to help struggling families, industries and small businesses left devastated by the global pandemic. The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong have more on the state of play here.


Trump tax revelations shine a spotlight on IRS enforcement: The New York Times’s blockbuster story on President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE’s taxes has boosted the push to give the IRS more funding to scrutinize wealthy taxpayers.

  • Democrats and tax professionals have long been arguing for more IRS funding following budget cuts that have led to a decline in audit rates. 
  • They claim that the Times’s article highlights the need for the IRS to have more resources for enforcement in order to deter wealthy individuals from going too far with their efforts to reduce their taxes.
  • Tax experts say the Times article underscores the importance of IRS funding for enforcement and the challenges the agency has faced due to budget cuts.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us why here.

A recap: The Times examined Trump’s tax data for 2000 to 2017 and found that the real estate investor and former star of “The Apprentice” paid no federal income taxes in 11 of those years. He paid $750 in both 2016 and 2017.

  • The Times reported that Trump has been subject to a years-long tax audit that was triggered by him claiming a multimillion-dollar refund after he applied steep business losses in 2008 and 2009 to previous years’ taxes. 
  • The article also details ways that Trump was aggressive with what he has written off as business expenses, including more than $70,000 for hair-styling costs during “The Apprentice.”

A deeper problem: The IRS saw its budget cut substantially during the early part of the 2010s, amid criticism of the agency from congressional Republicans. 

  • According to a report issued earlier this year by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the IRS’s budget was cut by about 20 percent from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2019 after adjusting for inflation.
  • The decline in funding translated to reduction in the IRS’s workforce and a decline in the percentage of returns that are audited.

Read more: Democrat calls for hearing with IRS chief after NYT story on Trump’s taxes

Senate passes spending bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline: The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term funding bill just hours before the deadline to prevent a government shutdown.

Senators voted 84 to 10 to keep the government funded at current levels through Dec. 11, setting up another funding fight after the November elections and right before the holidays.

The funding bill, passed by the House earlier this month, now heads to President Trump’s desk, where he is expected to sign it before midnight to keep the government running.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney breaks it down here.


  • Seattle’s City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a minimum pay standard for rideshare drivers.
  • A coalition of travel, hotel, franchise, and state and local government groups called for Congress to not go on recess without providing relief for sectors devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.