Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold'

Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold'
© Greg Nash

Happy Monday and welcome back to Overnight Finance, where we're wondering if Obama will tackle Dodd-Frank in his upcoming collaborations with Netflix. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

 

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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill@NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE has repealed auto-lending guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), revoking a rule that was put in place to protect minority customers from predatory practices.

Trump's signature on a congressional resolution erases the CFPB's 2013 guidance targeting "dealer markups," the additional interest that is added to a customer's third-party auto loan as compensation for the dealer. 

The president signed the resolution in a private White House signing ceremony.

Auto dealers, banks and their allies in Congress said the CFPB policy was an unfair and unfounded attack on an essential and harmless financing tool. 

The move caps off an unprecedented use of congressional power, as lawmakers had never before passed such a resolution to revoke informal guidance from a federal agency. I explain why here.

 

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What comes next: Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyPoll: Majority of likely voters support consumer bureau mission Top Republicans concerned over impact of potential Trump drug rule Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau MORE in a statement praised Trump and lawmakers for repealing the auto guidance and said the bureau would consider submitting other similar policies for congressional review. That's a huge fear among many Democrats, liberal non-profits and consumer protection groups.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

 

LEADING THE DAY

US-China trade war averted for now: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that a trade war with China is "on hold."

"We're putting the trade war on hold," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework," he added.

The apparent detente comes a day after the U.S. and China released a joint statement saying the two nations agreed to take measures to "substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China." 

"Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports," the statement said.

Mnuchin on Sunday would not specify how much in American products the Chinese would buy. He suggested the Trump administration could reimpose tariffs if China does not follow through.

 

CNBC: Dow closes above 25,000 for the first time since March: "Stocks closed higher on Monday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China dissipated for the moment, while investor sentiment was also boosted by news of dealmaking activity.

"The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 298.20 points to 25,013.29. Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies, big exporters likely to benefit from easing trade tensions, were the best-performing stocks in the index. Monday also marked the first time since mid-March that the Dow closed above 25,000.

"The S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and closed at 2,733.01 as industrials jumped 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.5 percent to 7,394.04 as semiconductors pushed tech higher."

 

Free traders applauded Trump: Free traders and conservatives concerned with the possibility of a trade war applauded the Trump administration's move away from threats of steep tariffs on China, a position that had put Trump at odds with many of his partisan allies.

 

Free trade-oriented Democrats, on the other hand, criticized Trump for failing to secure specific, achievable commitments from China.

 

Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits: The Supreme Court's decision Monday allowing employers to keep employees from joining together in wage and hour disputes could have a dramatic and lasting impact on the American workforce.

In a 5-4 ruling, the justices said arbitration agreements that bar employees from joining together in arbitration or a class-action lawsuit to settle labor disputes are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.

"The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written," wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch in the majority opinion.

Workers' rights advocates denounced the decision, fearing it will make it harder for employees to sue their employers for lost wages.

They also warned the ruling will likely lead to more businesses placing "take it or leave it" clauses in their contracts, meaning people will have to waive their right to join a class-lawsuit before they can even get a job. The Hill's Lydia Wheeler breaks it down here.

 

Mnuchin urges antitrust review of big tech: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday encouraged the Department of Justice to review major technology companies like Google over they harm market competition.

"These issues deserve to be reviewed carefully," Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview. "These are issues the Justice Department needs to look at seriously, not for any one company, but as these technology companies have a greater and greater impact on the economy."

Mnuchin's comments were in response to a report on CBS News's "60 Minutes" on Sunday that discussed antitrust concerns about Google. The report raised questions about the size of the company and critics who say that Google has grown too large and is stifling competition.

Those critics include attorneys and European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, whose commission handed Google a record $2.7 billion fine earlier this year over anticompetitive concerns regarding its search results. 

The Hill's Ali Breland has more here

 

FINANCE IN FOCUS

Trump spending do-over unlikely to pass: President Trump's plan to claw back more than $15 billion in spending is on life support on Capitol Hill. 

GOP leaders insist they are open to Trump's proposal, which comes after Republicans faced a backlash for passing a mammoth, $1.3 trillion spending omnibus that shredded federal budget caps. 

Despite the GOP's broad desire to cut spending, it appears increasingly unlikely that the legislation will pass, with Republicans in both chambers expressing opposition. The Hill's Niv Elis and Jordain Carney tell us why here.

 

Tax law supporters rally for Republicans in tough races: Business groups that backed the tax bill are trying to help vulnerable Republican lawmakers by highlighting their work on the issue.

Since the law passed, business groups have been working to make the case that the tax law is working as promised. Some of their efforts have involved promoting the law by thanking the GOP lawmakers for supporting it. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda takes us inside those efforts here

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS