Policy

On The Money — Congress nears shutdown deadline, again

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Lawmakers are struggling to craft a bipartisan government spending bill as Republicans push for spending cuts. We’ll also look at the new price cap on Russian oil, a new SEC settlement and the last-ditch effort to pass Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform measure. 

But first, find out why Michael Avenatti may spend more than a decade in prison

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Sign up here or in the box below.

GOP points to Inflation Reduction Act in funding fight

Republicans have a new argument this year at the end of 2023 partisan clashes over government funding: Domestic spending should be reduced because of the sweeping tax and climate legislation Democrats moved through Congress earlier this year in party-line votes. 

Republicans have been ramping up calls for spending reductions outside of defense while specifically pressing for the domestic spending Democrats have passed without GOP support in reconciliation bills over the past two years to be considered in talks. 

“The reconciliation bills spent a ton on domestic,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (D-S.C.), who serves on the appropriations committee, told The Hill. “So, that has to be factored in and in terms of more domestic spending.”  

  • In recent days, top Democrats have warned that Congress could be headed for a full-year continuing resolution, which would keep government funding at the fiscal 2022 spending levels, if lawmakers fail to finalize a bipartisan agreement this month. 
  • This would prevent lawmakers from putting their own touches on what spending to emphasize in the coming year. 
  • Congress has just two weeks to pass legislation to keep the government funded or risk a shutdown. Negotiators on both sides speculate Congress is on track to needing at least one short-term measure to prevent a shutdown on Dec. 17. 

Aris has the details here

LEADING THE DAY

Price cap on Russian oil takes effect 

A price cap on Russian oil aimed at penalizing Moscow’s war on Ukraine went into effect on Monday. 

The cap, which is being imposed by the United States and other countries and is intended to prevent Russia from selling oil at more than $60 per barrel, works by prohibiting access to services such as insurance and trade finance for shipping Russian oil if it’s sold above the price cap. 

  • The Group of Seven (G-7) is imposing the cap on Russian oil that is transported by sea along with the European Union and Australia.
      
  • According to a Treasury Department fact sheet, the G-7 controls about
    90 percent of the market for relevant insurance.  

The Hill’s Rachel Frazin has the latest here

BAD CALLS

AT&T to pay $6.25M to SEC over alleged leaks to Wall Street analysts 

AT&T has agreed to pay $6.25 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the company’s alleged leaks to Wall Street analysts, according to a settlement agreement filed on Friday. 

The three AT&T executives accused of involvement in the leaks — Christopher Womack, Kent Evans and Michael Black — will each pay a $25,000 penalty to the SEC without admitting or denying the allegations. 

  • The SEC filed a complaint against the telecommunications giant and the three executives in March 2021, accusing them of violating the commission’s fair disclosure rule.  
  • The rule prohibits companies from making selective disclosures of “material nonpublic information” to analysts and others. 
  • In the spring of 2016, the SEC alleges Womack, Evans and Black spoke privately with analysts and disclosed such information in an effort to get them to reduce their estimates of the company’s revenue for the first quarter of 2016. 

The Hill’s Julia Shapero has more here. 

NOT IN NDAA?

Progressives push back on effort to put Manchin permitting deal in NDAA 

At least two progressive Democrats on Monday said they would vote against a defense spending bill if it contains elements of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform push.  

Reps. Raúl Grijlava (D-Ariz.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) tweeted that they would vote against the annual bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), if it contained what they described as “giveaways to the fossil fuel industry.” 

  • Permitting reform refers to changes to the energy approval process. Manchin has been pushing for changes that would be expected to speed up approvals for both fossil and renewable energy infrastructure.  
  • Democratic leadership pledged to support Manchin’s permitting effort in exchange for his support of the party’s climate, tax and healthcare bill but have been unable to find a vehicle for it. 

Rachel has more here

Good to Know

A sturdy bipartisan majority said in a recent poll they support the mission of a polarizing financial watchdog agency that could be gutted by the Supreme Court. 

Seventy-nine percent of registered voters said they favor the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its efforts to protect Americans from abusive and fraudulent financial products, according to a survey conducted by Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners and Republican polling firm Chesapeake Beach Consulting. 

Other items we’re keeping an eye on

  • Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are emerging as the new champions of conservative populism at a time when many Republicans think former President Trump’s grip on the party is slipping. 
  • New Zealand’s government proposed new legislation Sunday that would require major tech companies to pay for local news content that they share on their platforms.  

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow. 

Tags Joe Manchin Lindsey Graham Michael Avenatti
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