Overnight Finance: Breaking - GOP delays release of tax bill | Changes to 401(k)s, state and local taxes hold up bill | Trump aims to sign tax legislation by Christmas | Hensarling to retire after term | Trump to repeal arbitration rule

Overnight Finance: Breaking - GOP delays release of tax bill | Changes to 401(k)s, state and local taxes hold up bill | Trump aims to sign tax legislation by Christmas | Hensarling to retire after term | Trump to repeal arbitration rule
© Camille Fine

GOP to delay release of tax bill: House Republicans rushing to finish a far-reaching tax cut package by Thanksgiving conceded late Tuesday that they would have to delay the release of their legislation by a day.

The GOP now says the bill will be released on Thursday as lawmakers scramble to reach a consensus on how to restructure the nation's tax laws.

Fights over possible changes to the tax status of 401(k) retirement plans and the state and local taxes deduction are at the center of the delay.

Lobbyists chattered throughout the day over whether Wednesday's big unveiling of the GOP tax package would have to be delayed as it became clear that lawmakers were differing over various reductions.

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Hours before the decision was made to punt the release for a day, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse passes tariff-relief bill GOP may increase IRS’s budget Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-Texas) told reporters that he intended to release text of a bill Wednesday -- but that it would not be a chairman's mark.

This would allow Brady to make changes to the text through the weekend ahead of a planned markup on Monday in the Ways and Means Committee.

President Trump had sought to quash any changes to 401(k) plans last week, but it has become clear that Republicans have not stopped talking about shifting the tax status of the plans as they seek to ensure their bill does not add to the deficit after its first 10 years.

Republicans have discussed lowering the amount people can put into the retirement plans tax-free so that more of that money would be hit by taxes.

On the state and local tax deduction, the tax framework Republicans released in September called for a full repeal, but GOP lawmakers from high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey have expressed opposition, warning it would hurt their middle-class constituents.

Brady appears to be moving toward a compromise that would allow a deduction for local property taxes -- a concession that could win at least some support from the blue-state Republicans.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) said on CNN Tuesday.

At the same time, Lance -- a top target for Democrats in next year's midterm elections -- stopped short of saying the compromise would win his support.

The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has more on the crunch-time talks: http://bit.ly/2ijh57o

 

GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges: The long-awaited Republican proposal to overhaul the tax code is now competing with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

GOP lawmakers insist the jolt to Washington from Mueller’s probe doesn’t hurt their efforts to rewrite the tax code.

The House Ways and Means Committee is set to release their tax bill on Wednesday, and GOP leaders have said they hope legislation passes Congress by Thanksgiving. They got a boost last week when the House approved a budget resolution that allows the tax bill to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

But they have little room for error.

“Just because the runway is clear, doesn’t mean there isn’t turbulence in the atmosphere,” said Sage Eastman, a former GOP Ways and Means Committee aide who now works as a lobbyist at Mehlman Castagnetti. “The landing just got a little bumpier.” The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us why: http://bit.ly/2xHcDWu.

 

Trump wants to sign tax bill by Christmas: President Trump said Tuesday he wants to sign a tax overhaul by Christmas, setting an aggressive timetable for Congress to deliver his first major legislative victory.

“I want the House to pass a bill by Thanksgiving. I want all the people standing by my side when we sign by Christmas, hopefully before Christmas,” Trump said during a meeting with industry leaders at the White House held one day before the House bill is expected to be released.

He vowed the signing ceremony will “be the biggest tax event in the history of our country.”

House Republicans have plotted a speedy course for their legislation, with a committee markup planned for Nov. 6. Their goal is to complete work on the legislation by Thanksgiving. http://bit.ly/2xHrYpT.

 

Happy Tuesday and welcome back 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

House Republicans expected to release tax bill

House Financial Services Committee: Hearing entitled "Examining the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program," 10 a.m.

Senate Banking Committee: Hearing on the nominations of 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 to be President, Kimberly A. Reed to be First Vice President, Mark L. Greenblatt to be Inspector General, and Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusOvernight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Manufacturers press Senate to approve Ex-Im board members Now is the time to fix Ex-Im Bank MORE III, of Alabama, Judith Delzoppo Pryor, of Ohio, and Claudia Slacik, of New York, each to be a Member of the Board of Directors, all of the Export-Import Bank, 10 a.m.

A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on data security following the massive Equifax breach at 2 p.m.

 

House Financial Services Chairman Hensarling to retire after end of current term: House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingBanks rack up big wins in Trump’s Washington Issa retiring from Congress Overnight Finance: Trump promises farmers 'better deal' on NAFTA | Clock ticks to shutdown deadline | Dems worry Trump pressuring IRS on withholdings | SEC halts trading in digital currency firm MORE (R-Texas) announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term.

"Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the U.S. Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned," Hensarling said.

Hensarling has been set to lose his position as chairman of the Financial Services Committee at the end of this Congress; GOP rules limit a chairman to three consecutive terms. Hensarling said the term limits made it the right time to leave Congress to spend more time with his family.

Talk of Hensarling's possible retirement had started to pick up before the Dallas Morning News first reported his departure on Tuesday. 

Capitol Hill and K Street sources told The Hill on Monday that Hensarling could announce his departure by the end of this week or next. The Hill’s Scott Wong and I explain why Hensarling is leaving: http://bit.ly/2xG736w.

 

Trump to sign repeal of consumer bureau arbitration rule: President Trump on Wednesday will sign a resolution repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule on forced arbitration, a White House aide told The Hill on Tuesday.

Trump has been widely expected to sign the resolution repealing the rule, which bans banks and credit card companies from blocking customers from suing them in class-action cases. The House passed a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the rule in July, which the Senate approved two weeks ago.

Trump will sign the resolution on Wednesday joined by the heads of banking and financial services trade groups that opposed the arbitration rules, according to three lobbyists familiar with the plans. I’ve got the scoop here: http://bit.ly/2xFuuNj.

 

Blue state Republicans urge governors to cut taxes amid SALT debate: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday urged their governors to lower their states' taxes, amid a debate in Congress over the fate of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

“There’s no reason that tax reform shouldn’t be a federal and state project,” McCarthy said on a call with reporters.

The tax framework Republicans released in September would repeal the SALT deduction, drawing concern from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California.

The Democratic governors of New York and California, Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown, have also spoken out against repealing the SALT deduction and have sought to put pressure on GOP House members from their states.

McCarthy and Reed sought to push back against their states' governors, with McCarthy blasting a gas-tax raise in California that takes effect on Wednesday. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2xHspk1.

 

Hitting GOP, Dems pitch raising 401(k) caps: Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a plan to let Americans contribute a greater amount of untaxed income to 401(k) retirement accounts — a clear response to Republicans considering more stringent limitations as part of their tax overhaul.

“We Democrats are here to say we vigorously oppose any tax hikes on retirement accounts,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.).

Currently, people under 50 can contribute up to $18,000 a year in pre-tax dollars into 401(k) retirement accounts through their employers. Republicans had reportedly discussed lowering that amount to $2,400, though backtracked somewhat after President Trump tweeted that no changes were coming.

Still, GOP congressional tax writers have refused to rule it out as they prepare for the Wednesday unveiling of their tax plan.

“We have just been slack-jawed at the idea that they just cannot keep their hands off your 401(k),” said Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWeek ahead: Senate takes up surveillance bill This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump MORE (D-Ore.). Here’s more from The Hill’s Niv Elis: http://bit.ly/2xIbLk8.

 

Senate GOP claims unity on controversial tax policy change: Senate Republicans say that a brewing controversy in the House on state and local tax deductions won’t be much of a problem in the upper chamber.

They point out that a test vote held earlier this year shows the Senate GOP conference is unified on changing the deductibility of state and local taxes to pay for significant reductions to individual and corporate rates.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) is helped by the fact that there isn’t one Senate Republican who represents the nation’s largest high-tax states — California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah), when asked Monday if any of his Senate colleagues are demanding that the deduction for state and local taxes remain in the law. “I don’t know anybody who’s advocating strongly for that.”

“Not on this side,” Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE (Texas) said Monday when pressed if anyone in his conference is opposed to eliminating the deductions: http://bit.ly/2xHfm1U.

 

Brady rejects bid to repeal ObamaCare mandate in tax reform: House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is rejecting a push by Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ DHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising MORE (R-Ark.) to add a repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate to tax reform.

Brady said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that he fears the move could jeopardize tax reform, a concern held by many Republicans.

“What I don’t want to do is to add things that could again kill tax reform like health care died over there,” Brady said, referencing the Senate.

He pointed out that even the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill, which repealed the individual mandate and a few other items, failed to pass the Senate in July.

“Look, I want to see that individual mandate repealed,” Brady said. “I just haven’t seen, no one has seen 50 votes in the Senate to do it.” http://bit.ly/2xIbeyK.

 

A running start for NAM chief: Efforts from President Trump and congressional Republicans to reform the tax code have led to a busy first few weeks for Chris Netram at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Netram, 42, started in late August as NAM’s vice president of tax and domestic economic policy, where he has been engaging the group’s roughly 14,000 members with Capitol Hill on tax-reform plans.

Fittingly, NAM’s deep interest in tax policy was one of the things that drew Netram to working for the group in the first place.

“There’s a couple of groups in town that are active in tax policy, but none to the extent and the level of the NAM — from the CEO and the board chair on down,” he said recently in an interview at NAM’s offices in downtown Washington.
Earlier this month, Netram visited Capitol Hill with NAM’s board chairman, Emerson Electric CEO David Farr.

“He’s got a real day job, and he is so invested in tax reform that he came here to D.C. to storm the Hill with me and my boss, to talk about the need to pass the budget as a vehicle for tax reform,” Netram said. “And that kind of buy-in, that’s not something you see everywhere.” http://bit.ly/2xGOS0O.

 

Qatar agrees to crack down on terrorism financing following Mnuchin visit: Qatar has agreed to bolster cooperation with the United States to constrain terrorism financing following a meeting between Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWeek ahead: Lawmakers eye another short-term spending bill Reagan balanced trade — Trump can, too GOP may increase IRS’s budget MORE and Qatari officials.

Mnuchin and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani “reaffirmed the joint efforts between Qatar and the United States to defeat terrorism and its financing,” according to a joint statement Monday.

The U.S. and Qatar agreed to substantially increase the sharing of information on terrorist financiers in the region, “placing greater emphasis on charitable and money service business sectors in Qatar,” Mnuchin said in the statement.

The talks in Doha also led the two countries to agree to take joint actions against terrorist financiers. The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell has more: http://bit.ly/2xGhirF.

 

Consumer confidence at highest level since 2000: Consumer confidence in the U.S. has reached its highest point in nearly 17 years, according to a new survey out Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 125.9 – its highest point since December of 2000, when it hit 128.6, the Conference Board, a business research group, said. Last month, the index reached 120.6.

Consumers' outlook on current economic conditions improved from last month, and they appear optimistic about the short-term outlook, Lynn Franco, the Conference Board's director of economic indicators, said in a statement, noting that the economy is likely to continue growing at a steady pace for the rest of the year.

The findings signal more good news for the economy. Also fueling consumer confidence is the job market, "which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001," Franco said. http://bit.ly/2xHmmvS.

 

FEMA chief: Feds spending $200 million a day on hurricane, wildfire recovery: The federal government is spending an estimated $200 million per day on recovery efforts following a trio of hurricanes and a severe wildfire season, a top official said Tuesday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long told senators that the agency still has “numbers coming in” about the costs associated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the wildfires in western states.

Asked whether the Trump administration would request more emergency funding for the disasters, Long implied that was likely.

“I don’t think we have a good handle on the total cost of this, but you can rest assured my guys will be in touch with your staff members to make sure we don’t fumble the ball when it comes to disaster recovery, and we’ll do our best to take care of taxpayer dollars,” Long said at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting Tuesday: http://bit.ly/2xIrDDC.

 

Trade panel recommends Trump impose tariffs on solar power technology: A federal trade panel is recommending that President Trump impose tariffs as high as 35 percent on solar power technology.

The International Trade Commission’s (ITC) four members outlined their preferences at a Tuesday hearing. The panel will send them next month to Trump, who has wide discretion to accept the recommendations, reject them or take other action.

The recommendations follow the ITC’s unanimous ruling last month that foreign imports of solar power cells and modules injure domestic manufacturers of the technology to an extent that warrants penalties for imports, under a process outlined in Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974.

The case was brought by Suniva Inc., a bankrupt solar panel maker, and joined by the United States operations of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld. http://bit.ly/2xImPy5.

 

Top GOP Senator won’t rule out gas tax hike for infrastructure upgrades: The Senate’s No. 3 Republican left the door open on Tuesday to raising the federal gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure improvements — an idea currently being considered by the White House, but one that has repeatedly run into a buzz saw of opposition on Capitol Hill.

“I’m not ruling out anything at this point,” Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneWeek ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content Overnight Tech: GOP senator presses Apple over phone slowdowns | YouTube cancels projects with Logan Paul after suicide video | CEOs push for DACA fix | Bill would punish credit agencies for breaches GOP senator presses Apple on phone slowdowns MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters. “I think we need to keep our options open in terms of how we get that done.”

“We have members who are open to all ideas about how to pay for [infrastructure],” he added.

White House officials told a group of moderate House lawmakers last week that they are considering a gas tax hike to help offset President Trump’s infrastructure proposal: http://bit.ly/2xFyrBD.

 

From The Hill's Opinion pages

Needling foreign nations may torpedo Trump's trade agenda, by Chad P. Bown

We must get SALT out of taxpayers' diets, by Jonathan Williams and Sal Nuzzo

 

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