Overnight Finance: Consumer chief Cordray resigning | GOP makes changes to Senate tax bill | Johnson becomes first senator opposed to tax bill | Mnuchin, Linton catch flak for photos holding sheets of money

Overnight Finance: Consumer chief Cordray resigning | GOP makes changes to Senate tax bill | Johnson becomes first senator opposed to tax bill | Mnuchin, Linton catch flak for photos holding sheets of money
© Greg Nash

Consumer bureau chief announces resignation: The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced his resignation Wednesday, giving President Trump the chance to reshape an agency that has long been the target of Republican ire.

Richard Cordray expects "to step down from his position here before the end of the month," he wrote in an email to staff.

"As I have said many times, but feel just as much today as I ever have, it has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau by working alongside all of you here," he wrote.

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The director of the CFPB is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The role comes with broad authority over the CFPB's budget, actions and priorities.

The White House said Trump "will announce an acting director and the President's choice to replace Mr. Cordray at the appropriate time."

The Vacancies Act mandates that Senate-confirmed agency heads be replaced by another Senate-confirmed appointee. That potentially disqualifies CFPB acting Deputy Director David Silberman from replacing Cordray in an acting capacity.

Cordray has led the CFPB since it opened in 2011. His aggressive actions in the role have drawn praise from Democrats but heavy criticism from Republicans, who say he has abused his power.

In his memo, Cordray touted the roughly $12 billion that the CFPB returned to consumers through enforcement actions and the 1.3 million consumer complaints addressed by the bureau.

"Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people's lives," Cordray wrote.

Cordray, whose term ends in July, was long expected to be leaving the CFPB early. A Democrat who served as Ohio's attorney general and treasurer, he has been reportedly mulling a bid for Ohio governor.

Federal law prevents Cordray from campaigning while he serves as director of the CFPB. Cordray can't discuss a future run or make moves to set up a campaign because of the Hatch Act, a federal law barring government employees from running for office: http://bit.ly/2zLX2GY

 

Modified Senate tax bill would make individual cuts temporary, leave lower corporate rate permanent: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah) released a modified version of the Senate tax bill late Tuesday that includes two key changes: the previously announced elimination of the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate and a sunsetting of individual tax rates in 2025.

The sunset clause in Hatch's "modified mark" would mean the new individual rates in the Senate bill would end 10 years after their creation.

This would solve a key problem in the Senate, which would have to prevent the overall tax bill from adding to the deficit after 10 years to make the new individual tax rates permanent -- and use special budgetary rules to pass the package with a simple-majority vote and prevent Democrats from using a filibuster.

The Senate bill also reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. This would be permanent and would not sunset.

On Monday, Hatch hinted that temporary individual tax cuts were on the table, emphasizing that he wanted to ensure that business tax changes are permanent: http://bit.ly/2zLXEfK.

 

Sen. Johnson first Republican opposed to tax bill: Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' GOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE (R-Wis.) said on Wednesday that he will not support the Senate GOP tax plan, becoming the first GOP senator to come out in opposition.

"If they can pass it without me, let them," Johnson told The Wall Street Journal. "I'm not going to vote for this tax package."

Senate Republicans have a narrow path to clearing the tax plan. With a 52-seat majority, if every Democrat votes no, they can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still let Vice President Pence break a tie.

Johnson's office did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment on the Journal's story or what changes Johnson wants to see.

But he told the Journal that he has concerns about the proposal and that writers of the tax bill have been unreceptive to his input.

"I don't like that process," Johnson said. "I find it pretty offensive, personally." http://bit.ly/2jvcO4T

 

Schumer: Dems won't back ObamaCare deal if it is tied to tax bill: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) warned on Wednesday that Democrats won't help pass a bipartisan deal on key ObamaCare payments if Republicans use their tax plan to repeal the individual mandate.  

"The Republicans cannot expect to pass their own separate ideological health-care provision and then turn around and ask Democrats to vote to pass Alexander-Murray," Schumer said from the Senate floor, referring to a bill by Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.). 

He added that any Republican senators who are willing to support repealing the mandate because they think the Senate will also pass the Alexander-Murray bill are "wrong on the substance and wrong on the politics, because it won't pass."  

Senate Republicans unveiled their updated tax plan late Tuesday night. The plan includes repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate, which requires that most Americans buy health insurance or face a tax penalty. http://bit.ly/2zLGQ8u.

 

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.

 

Key GOP senator: ObamaCare payments likely to be included in funding bill: Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Texas) said Wednesday that the Senate will likely include key ObamaCare payments in an end-of-year spending bill.

"I think that's likely to happen," Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, told reporters when asked if the cost-sharing reduction payments would be included in the December funding bill.

Cornyn added that the legislation from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which would include two years of the ObamaCare payments to insurers in exchange for more flexibility to the states, could help lower premiums and "has merit."

"I wouldn't do it as a stand-alone [bill] but I think with the repeal of the individual mandate it probably makes more sense," he said.

Republicans unveiled an updated tax plan on Tuesday night to repeal ObamaCare's individual insurance mandate, which has required most Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty. But Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Dems push for more money for opioid fight MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said on Tuesday the Senate would also pass the Alexander-Murray bill as part of the trade off: http://bit.ly/2zKphG3.

 

Trump teases trade announcement while slamming NY Times: President Trump on Wednesday appeared to tease a new announcement on trade as he assailed The New York Times for its coverage of his marathon trip to Asia.

"The failing @nytimes hates the fact that I have developed a great relationship with World leaders like Xi Jinping, President of China," Trump tweeted a day after returning from his five-nation tour.

The comments come days after Trump said he would make a "major" trade announcement after returning to the White House from Asia. 

"A lot of things are happening on trade," Trump said during a meeting with the leaders of Australia and Japan. "And I'll be announcing pretty much what happened here, and also with other meetings, including China and South Korea and lots of other places." http://bit.ly/2zKwGF3

  

Trump economic adviser appears surprised by CEO tax proposal response: White House economic adviser Gary Cohn appeared surprised at an event after few CEOs said they planned to invest more if the GOP's tax plan is passed.

During an event for the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, an editor at The Wall Street Journal asked the room: "If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment -- your company's investment, capital investment?"

People were asked to raise their hand.

When few hands were raised, Cohn, the White House Economic Council director, asked: "Why aren't the other hands up?" http://bit.ly/2zKqk8X.

  

Ryan: DACA fix will be separate from spending bill: Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that lawmakers are not planning on wrapping legislative relief for young immigrants brought to the country without legal permission as children into an end-of-year spending bill.

Asked by Fox News's Bret Baier in a town hall-style interview whether the spending bill would include measures to codify protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Ryan said lawmakers plan to consider the matters separately.

"No, we're planning on doing that separately," Ryan told Baier. Asked to clarify, Ryan replied: "We're planning on keeping that separate from spending."

DACA, an Obama-era program, has temporarily shielded certain young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. President Trump moved in September to end the program, but gave Congress a six-month window to take action and enshrine DACA's protections into law. http://bit.ly/2zMGY7M.

 

Mnuchin's signature now on $1 bill: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMark Mellman: History’s judgment Trump's motorcade greeted with chants of 'lock him up' in NYC Treasury watchdog probes lack of tax plan analysis from Mnuchin MORE's name will now appear on the $1 bill.

Mnuchin, joined by wife Louise Linton, toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on Wednesday to see the production of the first bills with his signature.

Mnuchin's signature will appear with the signature of Treasurer Jovita Carranza on one dollar bills that are expected to go into circulation next month. The signatures of the Treasury secretary and treasurer appear on every United States bill.

Mnuchin and Linton took several pictures with a sheet of the first $1 bills with the Treasury secretary's name, which spread quickly around social media: http://bit.ly/2zMHxyq.

 

Mnuchin, Linton catch flak for photos holding sheets of money: The gloves are off on Twitter, with many social media users mocking Louise Linton and her husband, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, over photos of them posing with new sheets of money.

Linton, a Scottish actress, and Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood producer, were photographed Wednesday at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.

The pair was on hand to see the first bills being produced that bear Mnuchin's signature.

Twitter lit up as photos from the indoor occasion were released showing Linton, 36, sporting a pair of black leather gloves while holding up the printed $1 dollar bills: http://bit.ly/2jsTrJN.

 

Poll: Just one-quarter of Americans approve of GOP tax plan: A majority of Americans in a new survey disapprove of the GOP's tax plan.

A Quinnipiac University poll found that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of the tax plan, compared to just 25 percent who approve of it.

Republicans are largely in favor of the plan, with 60 percent approving of it and just 15 percent disapproving. Another 26 percent of Republicans were undecided.

A majority of Americans surveyed also said they think the wealthy would mainly benefit from the tax plan.

According to the poll, 61 percent think the wealthy would mainly benefit, compared with just 24 percent who said the middle class would mainly benefit. Only 6 percent said the plan would mainly benefit low-income people.

Just 16 percent of respondents said that they expect the plan to reduce their taxes. About one-third of respondents, 35 percent, expect it to increase their taxes: http://bit.ly/2zLpSHw.

 

Blue Dogs oppose GOP tax package: A bloc of fiscally conservative Democrats will announce their opposition to House Republicans' far-reaching effort to overhaul the tax code on Wednesday.

The business-friendly Blue Dog Coalition had represented the best chance for the Republicans to win at least a modicum of Democratic support for their sweeping tax-reform package, which GOP leaders, scrambling to secure a major legislative victory this year, are racing to enact before Christmas.

But Blue Dog leaders, after mulling the package passed by the House Ways and Means Committee last Thursday, say the Republicans' proposal breaks all the group's guidelines for a tax code redesign. It fails to simplify the tax code, they contend, while busting the budget, neglecting new infrastructure investments and threatening too many middle-class families with a tax increase.

"We simply cannot support a bill that, by every kind of measurement, has been determined to add over $2 trillion to the deficit at the expense of middle-class Americans," the Blue Dog co-chairmen, Reps. Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaOvernight Finance: Consumer chief Cordray resigning | GOP makes changes to Senate tax bill | Johnson becomes first senator opposed to tax bill | Mnuchin, Linton catch flak for photos holding sheets of money Blue Dogs oppose GOP tax package Week ahead: House panel to mark up tax bill | Trump pushes to repeal ObamaCare mandate | Blue Dog Dems weigh support for GOP bill MORE (D-Calif.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiDems set for abortion showdown in Illinois Progressive groups back challenger to Illinois Dem Overnight Finance: Consumer chief Cordray resigning | GOP makes changes to Senate tax bill | Johnson becomes first senator opposed to tax bill | Mnuchin, Linton catch flak for photos holding sheets of money MORE (D-Ill.), said in a statement obtained by The Hill: http://bit.ly/2zLsGnT.

 

Retail sales indicate steady demand heading into holidays: U.S. retail sales rose in October after an unexpected surge the month before, a sign of strong economic demand heading into the busy holiday season.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that overall sales rose 0.2 percent in October after rising by 1.9 percent in September, while automobile sales continued to climb 0.7 percent after a 4.6 percent surge related to hurricane relief efforts.

According to the data obtained from the Commerce Department, nine out of the 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases in sales value. The categories that saw increases include everything from sporting goods to appliance sales and restaurants.

Gas prices also dropped on average in October, according to data taken from service station receipts. Many economists feared a surge in gas prices after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana, where much of the industry's infrastructure is located. An initial surge in prices broke, however, and prices on average dropped in October. http://bit.ly/2zLssgJ.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages

Following Trump's lead to 'cut, cut, cut' will create jobs, by Corey Lewandowski

Credit Trump for boosting business and fueling our economic growth, by Andy Puzder

If GOP fails to pass tax reform, they don't deserve to win in 2018, by Kristin Tate

Congressional tax reform must include an affordable housing fix, by Armstrong Williams

 

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