Overnight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding

Overnight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding
© Greg Nash

House votes to repeal consumer arbitration rule: The House voted Tuesday to repeal a controversial new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would have protected consumers' rights to sue banks in class-action lawsuits.

Lawmakers voted 231-190 to repeal the rule using the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to eliminate regulations within 60 days of their release and bars agencies from issuing similar rules in the future. Only one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.), joined Democrats in voting against repeal.

The repeal resolution will now move to the Senate. Republicans will need near-unanimous support from their slim majority to pass it in the upper chamber.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The White House said Monday it "strongly supports" the repeal effort.

The effort to repeal the arbitration rule is only the flashpoint in a long-running fight between Republicans and the CFPB. I have everything you need to know here: http://bit.ly/2tAh6rW.


House passes Russia sanctions deal: The GOP-controlled House easily passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to limit the Trump administration's ability to lift sanctions on Russia.

Three Republicans -- Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashOvernight Defense: House votes to renew surveillance program | More drones, troops headed to Afghanistan | Former officers urge lawmakers to curb Trump's nuclear powers Overnight Tech: House votes to reauthorize surveillance powers | Twitter on defensive after Project Veritas video | Senate panel to hold hearing on bitcoin Overnight Cybersecurity: House votes to renew NSA spying | Trump tweets spark confusion | Signs Russian hackers are targeting Olympics | Bannon expected to appear before House Intel panel MORE (Mich.), John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) -- voted against the bill, which passed 419-3.

Tuesday's vote amounted to a rebuke of President Trump, whose administration had pushed to water down the bill's provisions giving Congress the power to veto the lifting of sanctions.

"This strong oversight is necessary. It is appropriate. After all, it is Congress that the Constitution empowers to regulate commerce with foreign nations," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said.

Trump expressed a desire to mend relations with Russia during the 2016 campaign and is reportedly considering restoring Russian access to two diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland that the Obama administration seized last year as punishment for the country's meddling in the presidential election. The Hill's Cristina Marcos has the details here: http://bit.ly/2eLTbTS


Trump considering Yellen or Cohn to lead the Fed: President Trump on Tuesday suggested he may renominate Janet Yellen or consider his National Economic Council director Gary Cohn as head of the Federal Reserve.

Trump said Yellen is "absolutely" under consideration to be named the chairman of the central bank for another four-year term, praising her past performance and efforts to keep interest rates low.

"I like her. I like her demeanor. I think she's done a good job," Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. "I'd like to see rates stay low. She's historically been a low-interest-rate person."

Yellen served as the vice chair of the Federal Reserve from 2010 to 2014 before being appointed chair by former President Obama: http://bit.ly/2tAll6V.


Senators mock Trump on hot mic: Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration GOP senators turning Trump immigration framework into legislation Longtime Clinton confidant blames Comey for 2016 loss MORE (R-Maine) was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday expressing concern over President Trump's mental health and questioning his understanding of the budget process.

In a conversation with Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedWHIP LIST: Shutdown looms as Senate lacks votes to pass House spending bill Senators press Trump to boost school funding in infrastructure package Lawmakers, political figures share their New Year's resolutions for 2018 MORE (D-R.I.), the Maine Republican said of the president's budget proposal that "whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing. I mean it's just incredibly irresponsible."

President Trump's budget proposal eliminated a slew of grants that provided welfare and social service support, such as the Community Development Block Grant.

Reed responded to Collins by saying, of Trump: "He's crazy."

Collins can be heard quietly saying, "I'm worried." The Hill's Niv Elis has more: http://bit.ly/2uWI7t7.


Business groups push for quick action on taxes: The business community is trying to light a fire under lawmakers and push them to pass tax reform legislation as soon as possible.

The increasing pressure comes as advocates fear that the gridlock that has stalled other GOP priorities could snare tax reform as well.

"I think they are anxious," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former Congressional Budget Office director. "I think they would like to see some tangible progress."
Optimism for tax reform soared after the presidential election, with business groups expecting a unified Republican government to move quickly on rewriting the tax code.

Those groups are still hopeful that tax reform legislation will pass this year, but they are also growing restless and eager to see action. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has more on what they are doing: http://bit.ly/2uWwwdy.


Happy Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Finance. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.


On tap tomorrow

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 8:30 a.m.
  • House Agriculture Committee: Hearing entitled "Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2tmO3YF.
  • House Small Business Committee: Hearing entitled "Protecting Small Businesses from Cyber Attacks: the Cybersecurity Insurance Option," 11 a.m. http://bit.ly/2tmSzqc.
  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government: Review of the fiscal 2018 budget request for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2vIWazr.


Trump: European Union 'is very protectionist with the U.S.': President Trump on Tuesday accused the European Union of "protectionist" policies and ordered the political and economic bloc to stop shielding itself from U.S. competition.

"Working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. Could be very big & exciting. JOBS! The E.U. is very protectionist with the U.S. STOP!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

As a presidential candidate, Trump campaigned on leaving or renegotiating existing free-trade deals, which he has dubbed unfair to the U.S. 

In fact, Trump has faced accusations of protectionism from major U.S. economic partners in Europe: http://bit.ly/2uWGbRk.


US, UK officials launch trade forum: Top U.S. and British trade officials met Monday in Washington to start building the foundation for an eventual trade agreement after the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with Liam Fox, the United Kingdom's international trade secretary, to launch the U.K.-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group aimed at strengthening economic ties and providing certainty for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic while Britain completes a deal with the EU.

"We expect this working group to be a key mechanism to deepen our already strong bilateral trade and investment relationship, and to lay the groundwork for our future trade relationship once the U.K. has left the EU," Lighthizer said in a joint statement.

"This will be our forum to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationship and deepen the already extensive economic ties between the U.K. and U.S.," Fox said: http://bit.ly/2uWFIia.


Mnuchin meets with agriculture groups on tax reform: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with representatives of agriculture groups at the White House on Tuesday as part of the Trump administration's efforts to get feedback on tax reform.

"Tax reform is one of our most important areas of focus," Mnuchin said in brief remarks at the beginning of the meeting. He added that the administration is "determined to get this done this year."

The meeting was one of several tax reform listening sessions that Mnuchin and White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have been holding with lawmakers and industry groups over the last several months. The administration officials have also met with groups in the transportation, technology and energy sectors, and with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Here's more from Naomi Jagoda: http://bit.ly/2uX4mPo.


Three House Dems call for Trump to withdraw nominee to lead Ex-Im Bank: Three House Democrats on Tuesday called on President Trump to withdraw his nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), along with Reps. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MoorePelosi rips Trump administration's 'thought control' on CDC Dem: Trump banning words in CDC documents ‘deeply disturbing and offensive’ Dem rep: Moore supporter called my office pretending to be a reporter, shouted racial slurs MORE (Wis.) and Denny HeckDennis (Denny) Lynn HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (Wash.), sent a letter to the president expressing their opposition to the nomination of former Rep. Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettManufacturers press Senate to approve Ex-Im board members Let's hope Republicans use the new year to get moving on Trump's nominees Now is the time to fix Ex-Im Bank MORE (R-N.J.) to head the 83-year-old bank.

"Given your expressed intention of making the U.S. more competitive the nomination of Mr. Garrett makes no sense," they wrote.

The Democrats argue that Garrett, who represented New Jersey's 5th District from 2003 to 2017, was a leading critic of the Ex-Im Bank and tried to shut down the agency while he was in Congress. The Hill's Vicki Needham tells us why: http://bit.ly/2uWO09D.


House Financial Services panel leaders spar over Trump, Russia: The leaders of the House Financial Services Committee sparred Tuesday morning over efforts by Democrats on the panel to demand information about the Trump family's financial connections to Russia.

The panel met Tuesday morning to mark up five bipartisan financial regulation bills and a Democratic procedural motion demanding information from the Treasury Department about financial connections between Russian banks or government officials and President Trump, his family and his business empire.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called the Democratic motion "blatantly political in nature," saying that he didn't think it was worthy of the panel's consideration.

"On this committee, there will be some who wish to focus on Russia and impeachment," Hensarling said. "But under my chairmanship, this committee will continue to be focused on America and a healthier economy."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the committee's ranking Democrat, insisted that the motion was essential to answering key questions about Russia's influence on the election and Trump's financial relationship with the Russian government.

"This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of national security and the integrity of the presidency," said Waters, perhaps the most prominent lawmaker to call for Trump's impeachment. I report: http://bit.ly/2uWLsIO.

Centrist GOP lawmakers push back against border wall funding: Two House Republicans want to water down plans to include funds to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall promised by President Trump in the spending package slated for a floor vote this week.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), whose district includes the largest section of the Mexican border of any House member, has long said building the wall would be impractical and ineffective.

House GOP leaders plan to add $1.6 billion to the spending package to begin construction on the border wall. The legislation will likely be blocked by Democrats in the Senate, but will serve as an opening salvo for the debate in September to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Hurd has submitted an amendment that would prevent the use of funds to build any physical barriers, including walls or fences, along the border until the secretary of Homeland Security submits a comprehensive border security strategy to Congress. The Hill's Cristina Marcos reports: http://bit.ly/2uWFhnU.


Senators urge quotas on Canadian lumber: Seven members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday called the Trump administration to set quotas on Canadian softwood lumber and closely consult with Congress during negotiations of a final agreement.

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWATCH: Dems say Trump will look like he has something to hide if he avoids Muller interview House funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms Trump approves Indiana Medicaid work requirements MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoSenate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Dems rip Trump's Fed pick as Senate panel mulls three key nominees Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans in Dodd-Frank overhaul MORE (R-Idaho) want U.S. trade officials to negotiate a "clean quota" agreement to address the softwood lumber spat with Canada.  

"Any long-term agreement must stop the harmful effects of subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber on fair competition with the U.S. producers," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The lawmakers -- Sens. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziSenate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA GOP is addressing tax cuts and a pension bill that could help coal miners Overnight Finance: Congress sends Trump funding bill to avert shutdown | WH sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending | GOP discovers corporate tax snag | Consumer bureau fight heats up | Apple could see B windfall from tax bill MORE (R-Wyo.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan Kid Rock: Al Franken shouldn't have resigned Michigan State president resigns amid sexual abuse scandal MORE (D-Mich.), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonHouse funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Collins becomes centrist power player MORE (R-Ga.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerRegulators push for 'coordinated' approach to bitcoin trading House funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms Overnight Tech: Mulvaney reportedly froze Equifax hack probe | Dems want new restrictions on Comcast-NBC | NJ gov signs net neutrality order | Senate confirms patent chief MORE (D-Va.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetGOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races Dem shutdown strategy: Force McConnell to deal DACA is neither bipartisan nor in America's interest MORE (D-Colo.) -- called on U.S. trade officials to hold Canada to their July 2016 commitment to negotiate a new agreement that is "designed to maintain Canadian exports at or below an agreed market share." http://bit.ly/2uWMxju.


IRS: Business-related ID theft on the rise: The IRS is seeing a rise in business-related identity thefts even as the number of individuals who report ID theft is significantly declining.

"The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax community have worked hard to turn the tide against tax-related identity theft," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. "We're making progress in protecting individuals but we still have more work to do, especially in the business tax area and involving tax professionals."

In the first five months of 2017, about 107,000 individuals told the IRS that they were victims of ID theft. That's a 47 percent decline compared to the same period in 2016, when 204,000 individuals reported being ID-theft victims, the IRS said. In the first five months of 2015, almost 297,000 individuals reported being ID-theft victims.

However, ID theft involving business-related tax returns is increasing. The IRS said it has identified about 10,000 business returns as possible ID theft cases in the first five months of this year, which is up from about 4,000 in 2016 and 350 in 2015: http://bit.ly/2uWHM9P.


Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.comvneedham@thehill.comnjagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane,  @VickofTheHill@NJagoda and @NivElis