Overnight Finance: Congress passes tax bill, sending it to Trump | Trump, leaders take White House victory lap | How GOP prevailed on tax cuts | Tax bill winners, losers | House GOP looks for path forward on funding bill

Overnight Finance: Congress passes tax bill, sending it to Trump | Trump, leaders take White House victory lap | How GOP prevailed on tax cuts | Tax bill winners, losers | House GOP looks for path forward on funding bill
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House approves tax bill, sending sweeping measure to Trump: Republicans in the House have given final approval to the biggest changes to the tax code in decades, sending the package to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE and completing their first big legislative achievement since taking across-the-board control of the government this year.

In a 224-201 vote, the House passed the bill for the second time in two days on Wednesday, after three provisions had to be stripped out because they ran afoul of Senate budget rules. The Senate approved the bill early Wednesday morning.

No Democrats in either chamber voted for the bill, a bet that its unpopularity in polls will stick and hurt the GOP in next fall's midterms.

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Republicans think the legislation's popularity will rise as taxpayers see its benefits, and only 12 House Republicans voted against the bill. Most of them were from New York, New Jersey and California districts that would be hit by new limits on deductions for state, local and property taxes. In the Senate, every Republican present backed the bill. The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Naomi Jagoda: http://bit.ly/2BGYVpd.

 

From last night: Senate passes tax bill, pushing it closer to Trump's desk: http://bit.ly/2BFMLwR.

 

Trump, GOP take victory lap after passage of tax bill: President Trump on Wednesday hailed the passage of the GOP's tax overhaul, calling it the "largest" tax cut in history and declaring that it would supercharge the U.S. economy.

Speaking from the South Lawn of the White House, an ebullient Trump was flanked by scores of beaming GOP lawmakers who gathered to celebrate the party's first major legislative victory since he became president.

"We broke every record," Trump said. "It's the largest, I always say the most massive, but it's the largest tax cut in the history of our country and reform. Something special." 

The $1.5 trillion bill provides major tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals and more modest reductions for the middle-class and low-income families.

While the cuts are among the largest since 1918, they are not the largest in history, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Democrats have dismissed the measure as a giveaway to the wealthy. But Trump predicted that corporate tax cuts would bring companies back to the U.S and attract $4 trillion in new investments, creating more jobs and growing wages. The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Jordan Fabian take us there: http://bit.ly/2BGoYwU.

 

How Republicans beat the odds on taxes:  Republicans have done what some said was impossible: rewriting the tax code in President Trump's first year in office.

"This is a day I've been looking forward to for a long time," Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKrystal Ball: GOP tax cut is 'opiate of the massively privileged' Top GOP lawmaker: Tax cuts will lower projected deficit GOP super PAC seizes on Ellison abuse allegations in ads targeting Dems MORE (R-Wis.) said on Tuesday on the House floor just before the chamber voted. "We are about to achieve some really big things -- things that the cynics have scoffed at for years, decades even."

The House on Wednesday afternoon sent the tax bill to Trump's desk, ending a long legislative journey that began after the election and saw many twists and turns along the way.

Reforming the tax code has been a dream of the GOP for years, but past efforts crashed and burned due to fundamental disagreements with Democrats about what the legislation should achieve. Republicans also wrestled among themselves with the tradeoffs needed to pay for lowering tax rates. 

Then the 2016 election came.

"The president changed the terms of the discussion," said a senior congressional aide. "Trump comes in as a tax cutter."

Yet even after winning the White House and Congress, Republicans were uncertain of the path forward as they debated, both publicly and privately, what form the tax bill should take. Naomi Jagoda explains: http://bit.ly/2BG7XTA.

 

When it comes to the politics of the Republican tax bill, who notched a victory and who took a hit? Niall Stanage has the scorecard and breaks down the tax bill's winners and losers: http://bit.ly/2z7f3O2

 

Stocks sink slightly after tax bill passage: Stock indexes closed slightly lower on Wednesday for the second straight day despite the passage of the GOP tax bill intended to boost U.S. businesses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 0.11 percent, while the Nasdaq and Standard and Poor's 500 finished 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent below open.

Stocks have soared during President Trump's first year as investors expected Republicans to slash tax rates for corporations. Congress passed the sweeping GOP tax overhaul bill on Wednesday.

Trump has frequently boasted about the stock market's performance on Twitter, and said Tuesday that investors haven't fully digested the benefits of the Republican tax plan.

"Stocks and the economy have a long way to go after the Tax Cut Bill is totally understood and appreciated in scope and size," Trump said in a Tuesday tweet.

"Immediate expensing will have a big impact. Biggest Tax Cuts and Reform EVER passed. Enjoy, and create many beautiful JOBS!" I've got more here: http://bit.ly/2BGPypA.

 

House GOP leaders ditch government funding plan amid infighting: House Republican leaders have ditched their initial plan for a stopgap spending bill amid GOP infighting over how best to avoid a government shutdown, which will take place Friday at midnight if Congress doesn't intervene.

The original plan was to send a bill to the Senate that links a full year of funding for defense with a short-term patch that funds the rest of the government through Jan. 19. The continuing resolution (CR) was also supposed to include funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and a massive $81 billion disaster aid package.

But some conservatives balked over the emergency aid because it is not offset by spending cuts elsewhere, while the boost for the military was likely dead on arrival in the Senate.

A House Rules Committee meeting, which was supposed to prepare the CR for a floor vote on Wednesday, was forced to recess Tuesday evening so that the panel could "continue to talk with members to determine the best path forward," according to a committee aide.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) confirmed Wednesday that "member discussions continue," though no final decisions have yet been made about the new spending strategy. http://bit.ly/2BFMLwR.

 

Happy Wednesday 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.

 

More on the tax bill:

Flake skips WH tax event: 'I can only take so many of those stand around and clap things'

Red-state Dem: GOP tax bill 'one of the shittiest bills ever'

Trump hails AT&T for giving $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 employees because of tax bill passage

Comcast announces $1,000 bonuses after passage of tax bill

Senator responds to being called a 'prop' during GOP tax celebration

 

New comptroller of currency calls for moderate fixes to post-crisis banking rules: The top United States bank overseer told reporters Wednesday that he supports moderate changes to the strict post-crisis rules placed on banks.

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said during a roundtable with reporters that the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 helped make banks more aware of their risk, but needed to be revised to loosen the burden on smaller firms.

"The banking industry is in the best shape it's ever been," said Otting, a former bank CEO who was confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 16.

"There were a lot of risks that a lot of institutions didn't know they had, or weren't cognizant of" before the crisis, Otting said, referring to the large national and international footprints.

But Otting added "most of us would say there are changes that could be made" to Dodd-Frank to loosen rules on smaller banks that don't have the "resources, talent, or infrastructure" to handle the sweeping financial reform law. He said his primary concerns were burdens smaller banks face adhering to anti-money laundering and fraud laws, and with capital requirements meant to weed out risk: http://bit.ly/2BGLB4j.

 

More: Otting urges banks to boost fintech services, sees little threat in bitcoin: The chief U.S. bank overseer on Wednesday called on the financial services industry to provide better ways to serve customers online or risk losing business.

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said that banks have to offer customers easier access to lending and other critical services through mobile applications and websites to prevent losing ground to financial technology companies.

"The old ways of doing a lot of things are evolving, and I think that the financial services industry has to evolve as well," said Otting, who was confirmed Nov. 16, in his first briefing with reporters.

Otting also said the rapid rise in value of bitcoin and other digital currencies a "phenomenon" that had limited implications for banks as of now.

Otting said bitcoin "doesn't seem to be coming into the banking system," and wouldn't affect its "safety and soundness" for the foreseeable future. He compared digital currencies to his trading of "baseball cards for marbles" as a kid, noting that none of the currencies are considered legal tender: http://bit.ly/2BGLB4j.

 

Maryland's Republican governor to offer bill protecting state from GOP tax bill: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is promising to offer a bill to the state General Assembly to protect Marylanders from being "negatively affected" by Congress's newly-passed GOP tax bill.

"Our goal will be to leave that money in the pockets of hardworking Marylanders," Hogan said Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. "I am confident that our partners in the General Assembly who have expressed concern over the impact of this tax reform bill will support us unanimously in protecting Marylanders who could be negatively affected."

"Protecting taxpayers should be a bipartisan issue," Hogan continued.

According to the Sun, Hogan did not provide specific details about the plan, but said that it would aim to return the extra millions of dollars in revenue generated by the tax bill to Marylanders who may lose federal deductions and exemptions.

Hogan said the plan would be his "holiday gift to the people of Maryland," according to the Sun: http://bit.ly/2BIRlKP.

 

Sales of existing homes hit highest level in nearly 11 years: Sales of previously owned homes increased for the third straight month in November to the highest level in nearly 11 years, a new report showed on Wednesday.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes and condominiums, surged 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million last month from 5.5 million in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

After last month's increase, which was better than expectations, sales are 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and have hit their fastest pace since December 2006.

All regions except for the West saw a jump in sales activity last month.

"Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.

Inventory remained a problem for the housing market and likely weighed on overall sales: http://bit.ly/2BFOZfE.

 

Coinbase investigating insider trading in bitcoins: The trading platform Coinbase is investigating potential insider trading involving the digital currency Bitcoin Cash.

The company is looking into whether an employee profited off inside information Tuesday when the platform saw a dramatic rise in the value of Bitcoin Cash.

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency trading platform, had just allowed live trading on Bitcoin Cash for the first time earlier that evening. The platform suspended trading of Bitcoin Cash after its value soared from $3,000 a coin to more than $8,500 a coin within an hour.

In a blog post, the GDAX trading platform -- owned by Coinbase -- said it was suspending Bitcoin Cash trading because of "significant volatility" until Wednesday morning.

In a follow up post on Wednesday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong acknowledged that the price of Bitcoin Cash had increased before the announcement that the platform would allow trading. All Coinbase employees, including contractors, were made aware of the confidential move last month and were barred from trading on the information: http://bit.ly/2BEXVlF.

 

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