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The coronavirus stimulus package has a newborn loophole. She’s trying to close it

May 21, 2020, 12:46 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Michigan’s secretary of state spars with the President, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s second inauguration sets off a U.S.-China spat, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth talks to Fortune about closing a stimulus package loophole. Have a good Thursday. 

– Closing the newborn loophole. Under normal circumstances, federal legislation in the U.S. is susceptible to loopholes. Factor in an unprecedented $2 trillion price tag and an accelerated journey through Congress and there are bound to be some significant gaps. 

The first coronavirus relief package did, in fact, have an oversight—a big one that constituents flagged to Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D–Ill.). New parents told her they were unable to claim a promised $500 credit for their babies. The reason? Stimulus checks to individuals are based on 2019 tax returns, so the government didn’t have a system set up to get payments to parents of infants born in the first few months of 2020.

“As far as the IRS is concerned, those newborns don’t exist yet,” Duckworth told Emma. 

Duckworth is proposing a bill, the Newborn CARES ACT, that would close the loophole, allowing new parents to claim the credit now, rather than having to wait until they file 2020 taxes. 

Duckworth, of course, is well suited to take on this issue. The veteran, who briefed the Pentagon on global pandemics during her military service, became the first senator to give birth while in office in 2018. She has a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old at home.

Asked why lawmakers hadn’t caught the loophole sooner, Duckworth said: “We’re all moving very quickly…But then also, it’s an issue where—not many of my colleagues are claiming newborn tax credits right now.”

You can read Emma’s full interview with Duckworth here

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Two women from Michigan. First, there was "that woman from Michigan" (that would be Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as she was called by President Trump and later immortalized on a t-shirt). Now there's "a rogue Secretary of State" whom Trump said on Twitter "illegally and without authorization" sent out absentee ballots. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson responded that she "[has] a name," and that she sent applications, not ballots, "like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia." Politico

- Coffee break. The chain Luckin Coffee fired CEO Jenny Qian last week over an accounting scandal. Now the 3-year-old company once seen as a potential rival to Starbucks in China is being delisted by the Nasdaq stock exchange. Under Qian, the company went public last year with a $600 million IPO. Fortune

-A unicorn loses its horn? Rent the Runway, led by CEO Jenn Hyman, is reportedly close to raising $25 million or so in new funding. The catch? The deal would value the startup at around $750 million—well below its previous $1 billion valuation. Bloomberg

- Inaugural issue. Tsai Ing-wen was sworn into her second term as President of Taiwan on Wednesday (she won re-election in January). But the ceremony has set off a U.S.-China row after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Tsai on her "courage and vision" in leading democracy in the region. In her own inaugural address, Tsai objected to "Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan." Guardian

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Elizabeth D. Bierbower, former president of Humana’s group and specialty division, will join Innovaccer’s strategic advisory board. Allianz SE head of digital regulation Catharina Richter will be global head of the Cyber Center of Competence for Allianz Group. 


- Once in a blue moon. Annie Glenn was thrust into public life when her husband, John Glenn, became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth in 1962. Then, after a lifetime with a severe stutter, she became an advocate for people with speech disorders. Glenn died at 100 of complications from the coronavirus on Tuesday. New York Times 

- Family planning. The U.S. birthrate fell to a record low last year: 58.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. American women also gave birth to the lowest number of babies—3.75 million—in 35 years. The only group that saw an uptick in births was women over 40, suggesting that some births are being delayed as women wait to establish careers. Wall Street Journal

- Signed, sealed, and delivered. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is leading a group of senators calling for an antitrust investigation into Uber and Grubhub if the companies end up merging. The lawmakers worry that the potential deal would "create a sector in which the top two players control 90% of sales." The Verge


How Brooke Baldwin—newly recovered from COVID-19—spent her first day back in the anchor chair Glamour

The many masks of Nancy Pelosi New York Times

How the Call Her Daddy feud boiled over New York Times


"We're not letting up in the fight to ensure that our communities are safer for young people everywhere—pandemic or not." 

-March for Our Lives co-founders Delaney Tarr and Tyah Amoy-Roberts, who are turning their attention to gun violence and domestic violence in homes while schools are closed