Overnight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks

Overnight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks
© Greg Nash

House approves spending bill with funds for Trump's border wall: The House approved a national security-themed spending package on Thursday that includes $1.6 billion to start building President Trump's proposed border wall.

The $827 billion package passed largely along party lines, with a vote of 235-192. Five Republicans voted no, while five Democrats voted yes.

The five Republicans to vote against the package were Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashWatchdog: Haley violated federal law by retweeting Trump endorsement House votes to crack down on undocumented immigrants with gang ties GOP lawmaker taunts House conservatives: Trump’s base is not ‘small faction of obstructionists’ MORE (Mich.), John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Mark Sanford (S.C.).

Five centrist Democrats voted in favor: Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Charlie Crist (Fla.), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).

The bill includes spending bills for defense and veterans programs, legislative branch operations and the Department of Energy. The Hill's Cristina Marco and Niv Elis report: http://bit.ly/2eRS3Oy.

 

Ryan drops border-tax proposal: The White House and congressional GOP leaders said Thursday that they are no longer looking at a border-adjustment tax as they work to get tax reform legislation enacted this year.

In a statement backed by Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.), the leading advocate for the border tax, the GOP's "Big Six" said they were casting the idea aside.

"While we have debated the pro-growth benefits of border adjustability, we appreciate that there are many unknowns associated with it and have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform," the administration officials and lawmakers said in a statement.

The border-adjustment proposal, part of a tax reform plan House Republicans released last year, would have subjected imports to U.S. tax while exempting exports. Supporters of the proposal had argued that it would remove incentives for companies to move their jobs and headquarters to other countries. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda tells us what happened: http://bit.ly/2v3fTNv.

 

Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump's desk: Senators are sending legislation slapping new sanctions on Moscow to President Trump's desk, setting up a potential showdown with the White House over Russia.

Senators voted 98-2 on the bill, which would give Congress the ability to block Trump from lifting the Russia sanctions. It also includes new penalties against Iran and North Korea.

Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.) voted against the bill.

The move marks congressional Republicans' first significant rebuke of President Trump's foreign policy, where the administration's warmer stance toward Russia has drawn heavy skepticism from both parties.

Underscoring the bipartisan support for the bill, senators agreed to temporarily set aside their days-long fight on repealing ObamaCare so they could debate and pass the sanctions bill.

The vote comes hours after a top White House official floated that Trump could potentially veto the legislation.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more: http://bit.ly/2tOdVkq

 

Happy Thursday 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.

 

Dems grill Trump bank regulator nominees: Two of President Trump's financial regulatory nominees faced tough questions from Democrats over their Wall Street work at a hearing Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee.

Joseph Otting, Trump's nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, and Randal Quarles, who has been nominated to serve on the Federal Reserve Board as vice chairman of supervision, would play major roles in fulfilling Trump's promise to "dismantle" Dodd-Frank Act banking regulations.

While they are likely to be approved by the Republican-led committee, Democrats grilled the two.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Mandel leads GOP primary for Ohio Senate seat: internal poll Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-Ohio) said bank executives like Quarles and Otting took advantage of "an opportunity to profit by flipping failing banks bought at rock-bottom prices and foreclosing on working families -- all while raking in taxpayer dollars."

"My concern isn't whether today's nominees have a great deal of experience working for banks," Brown said. "My concern is whether they will work for American taxpayers and working families." I have more here: http://bit.ly/2v34L32.

 

Mnuchin wants 'clean debt-ceiling' bill: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House panel on Thursday he wants a clean debt-ceiling bill, appearing to settle a dispute within the White House over the administration's strategy.

Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee that no policy riders should be attached to legislation increasing the nation's borrowing authority. 

The Treasury secretary added that he and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who had previously called for adding spending reforms to a debt-ceiling bill, are now "on the same page."

President Trump "has been very clear that I'm responsible for the debt ceiling and my position has been that I believe there should be clean debt ceiling," Mnuchin said. The Hill's Vicki Needham reports: http://bit.ly/2v3d66W.

 

Waters gets testy with Mnuchin at House hearing: An exchange between Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got testy on Thursday, further highlighting Democratic frustrations with the Trump administration.

Waters, who is quickly becoming President Trump's harshest congressional critic, prodded Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing over why she hadn't received a response to a May letter she sent him about Trump's financial connections to Russia. 

Instead of immediately answering, Mnuchin started complimenting the ranking member.

"First of all, let me thank you for your service to California, being a resident of California I appreciate everything that you've done," he said.
But Waters stopped him mid-sentence to reclaim her time -- lawmakers usually get about five minutes to question witnesses -- and they spent the next few seconds talking over each other.

"Thank you very much, I don't want to take up my time," Waters told Mnuchin. Vicki Needham takes us there: http://bit.ly/2eSnV5H.

 

Conservative Republicans' bill seeks to take bite out of debt ceiling: The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a conservative group comprising more than half of all GOP House members, is throwing its weight behind a bill that would defang the high-stakes debates around the debt ceiling.

On Thursday, the group's steering committee unanimously decided to re-adopt the Default Prevention Act, an initiative Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) introduced in 2015. It would require the U.S. Treasury to pay its debt, interest, and Social Security obligations, even if it reached its legal borrowing limit.

Political clashes over raising the debt ceiling create uncertainty as to whether the Treasury would legally be able to borrow in order to pay its bills and debts if the ceiling were not raised. A default would have catastrophic financial and economic effects and showdowns in 2011 and 2013 raised U.S. borrowing costs by billions of dollars: http://bit.ly/2v3utnX.

 

Halliburton to pay $29.2M to settle SEC violation: Oil services firm Halliburton will pay $29.2 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dispute over the company's operations in Angola.

The SEC accused Halliburton and Jeannot Lorenz, its former vice president, of improperly partnering with local Angolan-owned businesses as early as 2008. According to the violation order, Halliburton worked with a local company owned by a former Halliburton employee who was friendly with officials at a state-run oil company in order to win oilfield service contracts.

Halliburton, which reported $15.9 billion in revenue in 2016, profited $14 million from the deals in Angola, which the SEC said violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The company will pay $29.2 million to settle the case. Here's more from The Hill's Devin Henry: http://bit.ly/2v3g5wd.

 

RSC predicts no spending deal by October: The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a conservative GOP caucus comprising more than half of House Republicans, does not expect Congress to reach a spending deal for 2018 by the October deadline.

Instead, the group expects that there will be a three-month continuing resolution, preventing the government from shutting down and keeping current spending levels in place, albeit with certain restrictions. 

"The reality is the United States Senate is not going to be able to pass any appropriations bills and have them signed into law. I think we are heading into a continuing resolution," RSC Executive Director Scott Parkinson told The Hill.

"My prediction is that we'll have a [continuing resolution] until Dec. 15 and then try to get an omni passed in December," he added, referring to an omnibus that combines all 12 spending bills. Niv Elis has it all here: http://bit.ly/2eRRHrb.

 

IRS fails to resolve dozens of information security deficiencies, GAO says: The IRS's ability to protect sensitive financial and taxpayer data is limited by its failure to resolve numerous information security deficiencies identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The continuing "control deficiencies" are identified in a new GAO audit released Wednesday that sheds light on the slow progress the IRS has made on information security despite its reliance on computer systems to support its operations and store sensitive data. 

According to the audit, which was completed in fiscal 2016, the IRS has made some progress addressing prior information security recommendations made by the watchdog -- but it still has work to do to shore up its systems to prevent sensitive data from being unnecessarily exposed. 

"Until IRS takes additional steps to address unresolved and newly-identified control deficiencies and effectively implements components of its information security program, its financial reporting and taxpayer data will remain unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification, or disclosure," the report says. The Hill's Morgan Chalfant breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2v3tRyO.

 

Ryan: Budget resolution not set for first week of September: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will not bring the House budget resolution to the floor the first week of September unless he is sure it has the votes to pass, a Ryan spokeswoman told The Hill.

That position runs contrary to an understanding the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest GOP caucus group, believes it reached with Ryan on Tuesday on a spending bill strategy.

Over the weekend, the RSC found significant support among its members for considering all 12 appropriations bills together as an omnibus bill ahead of the August recess, as opposed to considering the current "minibus" with just four of the bills, and putting the others off until September. 

RSC Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to add the eight additional spending bills to the minibus.

The Speaker, however, was concerned that a full omnibus was too risky. An errant amendment's passage could give members cold feet and sink the bill: http://bit.ly/2eS3SEc.

 

Meadows: Budget still lacks vote, despite death of border tax: The House Freedom Caucus is still holding out on voting for the budget resolution, despite a major victory for the group in eliminating the border adjustment tax.

"There's still not enough votes to pass the budget," Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said.

Members of the conservative group have withheld support for the budget over a series of policy disagreements, including the level of mandatory spending cuts and the specifics for tax reform, which the budget will have to lay out for procedural reasons.

Last week, Freedom Caucus member Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a member of the budget committee, weighed throwing a wrench into the committee's markup by inserting an amendment on the border tax. In the end, committee chairwoman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now House to vote on budget next week Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat MORE (R-Tenn.) simply ruled that the amendment could not be introduced so late in the game and Sanford and other Freedom Caucus members on the committee voted to pass the budget through the committee.

But those same members have not committed to voting for the bill on the House floor: http://bit.ly/2h7azTT.

 

Bezos overtakes Gates as world's richest person:

Jeff Bezos is the new world's richest person, possessing a net worth of more than $90 billion.

Bezos overtook Bill Gates on Thursday after Amazon shares surged to a new high of $1,071.30. Bezos, according to CNBC, owns 80 million shares of the online retailer he founded and runs. The new surge, if it holds, will add $800 million to his net worth.

Bezos now sits atop Bloomberg's billionaire index, above other Americans billionaires like investor Warren Buffet and Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The Hill's Ali Breland has more: http://bit.ly/2v3TnUK.

 

From Reuters: Trump urged Washington to stop bank mergers in 2004 letter: "President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE warned the administration of George W. Bush in 2004 that big U.S. bank mergers were 'totally out of control' and should be stopped as they were forcing businesses to borrow money from foreigners, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
"Though it is 13 years old, the unsolicited letter from Trump, when he was a New York real estate developer and businessman, to then-Treasury Secretary John Snow sheds some light on Trump's attitudes toward big banks, which he has alternately lambasted and embraced since becoming a politician."

Click here for the full story from Reuters: http://reut.rs/2eRVODD.


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