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 $47B windfall from tax bill

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 $47B windfall from tax bill
© Getty Images

Senate sends funding bill to Trump to avert government shutdown: The Senate on Thursday cleared a two-week stopgap funding bill, one day before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The bill now heads to the White House, where President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE is expected to sign it.

Congress had until the end of Friday to pass a bill or spark a government shutdown -- something GOP leadership has been adamant they would not let happen while they control the levers of power in Washington.

Lawmakers now face another deadline on Dec. 22, setting up a funding showdown just three days before Christmas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Top GOP senators urged their colleagues to support the legislation despite grumbling among some in the caucus about the impact a continuing resolution (CR) has on military spending.

"We need this legislation to give Congress and the administration additional time to agree on responsible spending levels for the current fiscal year and beyond. ... I hope the Dec. 22 backstop will facilitate an agreement that will enable the Congress to provide funding for important national security and domestic priorities," Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTodd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind Mississippi Democrat drops Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said shortly before the Thursday evening vote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Hillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans On The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal MORE (R-Ky.) said the stopgap measure would "provide us with the time we need to complete discussions on a long-term solution."

But Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said it was "unacceptable" that Congress was passing the stopgap bill.

"I have implored Congress and the White House to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement, because without one, the military will be funded under a Continuing Resolution at the Budget Control Act levels," he said.

Senate Republicans can't pass a government funding bill on their own, and needed consent from Democrats to speed up debate of the legislation to meet Friday's deadline.

Democratic leadership remained tight-lipped throughout the week about if they would support a continuing resolution as they looked for leverage in negotiations on a final, year-end spending package.

 http://bit.ly/2k8eDBk.

 

And for more on the House vote earlier in the day... The House on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending bill one day before a deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

House Republicans managed to pass the legislation on their own in the 235-193 vote, despite often coming short of securing a majority of the majority on measures to keep the government open in recent years.
"I think it's kind of just basic governing is keeping government going while we negotiate the final details," said Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanInterior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia National Dems make play in Ohio special election MORE (R-Wis.).

Ahead of Thursday's vote, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTop Ethics Dem calls for Nielsen to resign Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia GOP looks to blunt Dems’ attacks on rising premiums MORE (D-Calif.) made clear that Democrats wouldn't support the two-week stopgap.

Pelosi emphasized that Democrats don't want to see a government shutdown, but couldn't support Thursday's bill because it doesn't include their priorities like protections for young undocumented immigrants, funding for the opioid crisis and relief for communities affected by recent natural disasters. 

"This is a waste of time," Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol. Here's more from The Hill's Cristina Marcos: http://bit.ly/2k87T6u.

 

White House official sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending: President Trump and congressional leaders reached a "tentative agreement" on Thursday to raise defense spending levels as part of a year-end government funding package, according to a White House official.

The leaders were "moving toward an agreement" on nondefense spending after a meeting in the Oval Office designed to resolve the contentious funding battle, the official said.

The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations between Trump and the top four congressional leaders.

Democrats don't have nearly as optimistic view of the outcome of Thursday's meeting, however.

Democratic leaders insist there cannot be a deal on the defense spending number without an agreement in tandem on spending for non-defense programs, a position they have long held.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a less rosy assessment of how much progress had been made.

Asked if negotiators were any closer to a deal on the spending caps, McConnell replied, "I wouldn't say that."

The Hill's Jordan Fabian and Alexander Bolton have the story: http://bit.ly/2nEn6Bj

 

Happy Thursday 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.

 

Republicans confront new snag for corporate tax cut: Republican senators are wrestling with how to handle the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) in the final tax-cut bill.

Senators had initially proposed repealing the corporate AMT. But not long before the chamber passed its tax bill early Saturday morning, they reinstated it to help offset other tax provisions.

The late addition has roiled business groups, who warn that keeping the corporate AMT would be harmful and dampen the economic benefits of the legislation. 

Many Republicans say they want to repeal the tax or mitigate its impact. But there are challenges to doing so because lawmakers will have to find other ways to raise revenue.

"It would be nice if we could eliminate the AMT. However, I'd like to see what the pay-for would be," Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsKey GOP senator says ‘no question’ Russia is meddling in U.S. affairs GOP Senator: 'Very inappropriate' for Trump to discuss allowing Russia to question US citizens Election security bill picks up new support in Senate MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters Wednesday.

When asked if the corporate AMT would be in the final bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLighthizer to testify before Senate next week as trade war ramps up Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS Senate panel advances Trump IRS nominee MORE (R-Utah) said, "Right now it doesn't look like it, but you never know." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2k7VC21.

 

McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday evening announced that eight Senate Republicans would serve on a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate tax bills.

The announcement follows the Senate approving a motion for the legislation to go to conference earlier in the day.

"Now that the Senate has voted to join our House colleagues in a conference committee, I'm confident that this distinguished group of senators will work to get the job done for the American people," McConnell said in a statement.

The conferees include three leaders of relevant committees: Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziBudget chairs press appropriators on veterans spending Forcing faith-based agencies out of the system is a disservice to women Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-Wyo.) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (R-Alaska).

Besides cutting taxes, the bill also would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, making Murkowski relevant.

McConnell also named five other GOP Finance Committee members to the conference: Sens. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits MORE (Texas), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanUS to provide additional 0M in defensive aid to Ukraine Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Bipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure MORE (Ohio), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (S.C.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (Pa.). http://bit.ly/2k8fIZS.

 

Poll: Most Americans believe GOP tax plan will help corporations, wealthy, investors: A majority of Americans polled believes the Republican-backed tax plan will benefit corporations and wealthy Americans, according to a new CBS News poll.

Seventy-six percent of Americans polled said they believed the plan would help corporations, while 69 percent said it would benefit the wealthy. 

The poll also found 53 percent of those polled said they disapproved of the plan, while 35 percent said they approved of it. 
Forty-one percent of Americans also said they expected their taxes to go up under the plan. 

The poll comes less than a week after Senate Republicans fulfilled a major campaign promise in passing legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code. It would reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 20 percent and would lower tax rates for individuals through 2025. http://bit.ly/2k8pH1j.

 

Deputy consumer bureau chief challenges court ruling for control of agency: The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a federal court Wednesday night to halt a previous ruling that cleared President Trump to appoint a temporary chief in her place.

The move by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English is the latest maneuver in the fight for control of the agency.

English filed an injunction in the District Court for the District of Columbia to block Office of Budget and Management Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Trump pick to head watchdog agency is who consumers need Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy MORE from leading the agency.

English's complaint asks the court to impose her restraining order against Mulvaney after it dismissed her effort two weeks ago. I have more here: http://bit.ly/2k9fLVp.

 

Clinton hits GOP over lack of children's health funding: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Anti-Trump protests outside White House continue into fifth night Opera singers perform outside White House during fourth day of protests MORE is pushing Congress to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), denouncing Republicans for passing tax cuts while the program's authorization has expired. 

"I'm going to keep tweeting about this, and speaking out every chance I get, until it is fixed," the former Democratic presidential nominee tweeted on Thursday.

The authorization for CHIP, which covers 9 million children, expired on Sept. 30, but no states have yet run out of money. Several states are in danger of running out soon, though, some by the end of the year. 

While funding for the program has been bogged down in partisan fighting over how to pay for it, CHIP money is expected to be added to a year-end spending package later this month. 

Congressional Democrats, in particular, are making CHIP funding a key demand: http://bit.ly/2k7uXSW.

 

RSC chief: House leaders say no funding for ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill: House leaders have promised conservatives that the next spending bill will not contain funding for ObamaCare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Senators seek data on tax law's impact on charitable giving MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday.

"The three things that we've been told are not gonna happen as part of our agreement: no CSRs, no DACA, no debt limit," Walker said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), said the promise was made during a meeting RSC members had with House leaders on Tuesday afternoon.

The cost-sharing subsidies have been a flashpoint during negotiations over both the GOP tax bill and the bill to continue funding the government beyond Dec. 22.

In exchange for her vote on the tax bill, Senate GOP leaders promised Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Overnight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts MORE (R-Maine) they would include bipartisan legislation to fund the cost-sharing reductions as part of the spending bill.

The House and Senate are in the process of working out the differences between the tax bills passed by their respective chambers. A final version could pass as soon as next week. http://bit.ly/2AD8sNr

 

Judge sets March trial date for AT&T merger fight: A federal judge set March 19 as the trial date for the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

AT&T had asked that the trial begin in February, while prosecutors with the Justice Department's antitrust division requested May.

"This is not a normal case -- from many perspectives," Judge Richard Leon told the two legal teams Thursday.

AT&T had been pushing for an expedited trial to beat the merger's April 22 deadline. If the deal doesn't close by then, AT&T will have to pay $500 million to Time Warner.

Leon urged the companies to consider pushing back the deadline.

"Getting an opinion on April 22 is not going to happen," he said.

AT&T said it was looking forward to making its case for the merger.

"We thank the Court for its deliberate and expeditious approach to this matter," David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said in a statement. "We understand and appreciate how busy the Court is, and we will promptly discuss the Court's post-trial schedule with Time Warner."

The proposed merger would join AT&T, a telecom giant, with Time Warner's entertainment businesses, including HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner Media. http://bit.ly/2nIZFai

 

Analysis: Apple poised for $47 billion windfall from GOP tax bill: Apple is likely to win big under the tax plan that Republicans are pushing through Congress, according to the Financial Times.

The Cupertino, Calif., firm could make as much as $47 billion in additional profits from the tax legislation, according to the paper's estimates.

The Senate version of the tax proposal, which would allow Apple to bring home profits it has stashed overseas at a maximum 14.5 percent tax rate, would be a huge discount over the proposed 25 percent corporate tax rate, and an even bigger deal than the current 35 percent rate.

Apple isn't the only company that stands to significantly benefit from the legislation. It does, however, stand to gain the most, as it has almost double the amount of profits overseas as the next closest firm, Microsoft. The Seattle-based software firm keeps $132 billion overseas, compared with Apple's $252 billion. http://bit.ly/2kx60Et

 

US locks in duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry: A U.S. trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry saying the U.S. has been harmed by unfair practices.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) made a final determination, in a 4-0 vote, that Canada subsidizes and dumps lumber exports into the United States, a move that is likely to increase already tense negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which filed a petition last year with the Commerce Department to open a case against Canada's softwood lumber industry, praised the decision.

"The evidence presented to the ITC was clear -- the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers," said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber's co-chairman in a statement.

"Now, with a level playing field, the U.S. lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly," Brochu said: http://bit.ly/2k7pI5U.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages

Conference committee could still destroy tax reform

Demystifying the gimmicks of growth in this tax reform bill

GOP leaders need to get serious about our massive debt problem

Communities of color deserve better than the GOP's tax reform

 

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