OVERNIGHT FINANCE: Ex-Im compromise?

BREAKING – GOP SAYS LOIS LERNER WENT AFTER SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY. Hmm, something tells us Mr. Grassley isn’t going to take that too well. More on that in a sec, but first...

TOMORROW STARTS TONIGHT: EX-IM FINDS REPUBLICAN SUPPORT. Today’s marathon 7.5 hour Financial Services Committee hearing on Export-Import reauthorization provided little new news for wonks closely monitoring the issue.

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But it did offer clues on which House Republicans were willing to stick their necks out against the Tea Party – and Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) – in supporting reauthorization. Vicki Needham and I report for the hometown paper: http://bit.ly/1iHef9g.

-- CAMPBELL FLOATS COMPROMISE: Retiring-Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) released a working draft of a three-year reauthorization measure that’d wind down the lending cap by a total of $45 billon over that time, $15 billion a year, gradually lowering the amount to $95 billion in 2017. Read the draft: http://bit.ly/1iwO85c

-- WHO ELSE SIGNALED SUPPORT: Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.); Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.); Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.); Sean Duffy (R-Wis.). Here’s Vicki writing more about the Rs: http://bit.ly/1pPmiBD.

THIS IS OVERNIGHT FINANCE, where we’re ready for game time tomorrow and hope no lawmakers pull any muscles tonight during the baseball game. Tweet: @kevcirilli; email: kcirilli@thehill.com; and subscribe: click here.

DAYS UNTIL EX-IM EXPIRES: 97.

ECONOMY SHRANK, WALL STREET SHRUGS. Vicki Needham and Pete Schroeder on this morning’s dismal economic report: The 2.9 percent GDP reduction “was the worst for the U.S. since the first quarter of 2009, when the country was mired in a deep recession.”

“But experts tracking the economy closely said the dismal report is no reason to panic, and argue the recession-era number can be attributed to a number of one-off factors, including harsh winter weather, a decline in exports exacerbated by global turmoil, and an expected spike in healthcare spending that never materialized.” Story: http://bit.ly/1qJIJtH.

-- HOW IT PLAYED: Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Economy Shrinks by Most in Five Years.” ...Financial Times: “Wall St. rebounds after U.S. growth shock.” ...USA Today: “Stocks shrug off GDP shocker, close higher.” ...U.S. News & World Report: “GDP Shrinks Sharply, but Don’t Panic.” …CNBC.com: “Bad to worse: US economy shrank more than expected in Q1.”

LERNER V. GRASSLEY, via The Des Moines Register: “Congressional investigators say they uncovered emails Wednesday showing that a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the Tea Party investigation sought an audit involving Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa in 2012.

“The emails show former IRS official Lois Lerner mistakenly received an invitation to an event that was meant to go to Grassley, a Republican. Grassley presumably received Lerner's invitation.

“The event organizer apparently offered to pay for Grassley's wife to attend the event. In an email to another IRS official, Lerner suggests referring the matter for an audit, saying it might be inappropriate for the group to pay for his wife.

“‘Perhaps we should refer to exam?’ Lerner wrote.

“It was unclear from the emails whether Lerner was suggesting that Grassley or the group be audited — or both. The other IRS official, Matthew Giuliano, waived her off, saying an audit would be premature because Grassley hadn't even accepted the invitation.” http://dmreg.co/1lqkXQD.

QUOTABLE, presumed 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton to PBS: “You have to be a little big crazy to run for president.” http://bit.ly/1pPxLkX.

ELIZABETH WARREN TO JACK LEW: ‘I WON’T LET ‘EM GET THE LAST WORD.’ Warren sparred with the Treasury secretary when he testified earlier today at the Senate Banking Committee, urging him to do more to make big banks smaller. Lew fought back, arguing that size doesn’t matter, and said that firms’ complexity poses a bigger risk than size.

“How confident are you that we can solve the ‘too big to fail’ problem by focusing only on regulatory risk rather than using a combination of regulatory risk and reducing size?” Warren asked.

“I actually think that size doesn’t always correlate with risk. You could have a smaller institution that causes risk--” Lew said.

“Let me just stop you there, Mr. Secretary,” Warren interrupted. “You and I have had this conversation before—“

“We have,” Lew quipped.

“The question is not whether it always correlates,” Warren added. “The question is whether or not a large institution that takes on more risk poses more risk to the economy than a smaller institution that takes on more risk.”

“There hasn’t been an ignoring of size,” Lew said.

“...Whatever you’re doing is not causing them to get smaller and that obviously adds risk,” Warren said.

CONFIRMED: JULIAN CASTRO. The Senate Banking Committee approved Wednesday President Obama’s nominee for Housing secretary, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, on a 16-6 vote.

-- WHO OPPOSED: Republicans: Ranking member Mike Crapo (Idaho); Sens. David Vitter (La.); Pat Toomey (Pa.); Mark Kirk (Ill.); Jerry Moran (Kansas); Tom Coburn (Okla.).

-- WHO SUPPORTED: All the Ds, plus four Rs: Sens. Richard Shelby (Ala.); Bob Corker (Tenn.); Mike Johanns (Neb.); Dean Heller (Nev.). Senate expected to easily confirm Castro because of rules changes.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT – WHY SHELBY WON AND CRAPO LOST: Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) victory last night means he’ll likely become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee if Republicans retake the upper chamber.

Stay with me here...

Because Cochran will likely become Senate Approps chairman, that means Shelby could become Senate Banking chairman if the Senate flips in November (and if he wants it).

POT HOLE – HOUSE BLOCKS MARIJUANA BILL, via our Bernie Becker: “House Republicans passed a measure Wednesday that would block funding for Washington, D.C.’s new measure decriminalizing marijuana, creating doubts about the law's implementation.” http://bit.ly/1lQjoLk.

SIDESHOW: BOEHNER SUES OBAMA, via Russell Berman: “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday he would initiate a lawsuit against President Obama on behalf of the House over the president's frequent use of executive actions that Republicans believe are beyond his legal authority as president.” http://bit.ly/1lQanBZ.

 

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