Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns

HOUSE PANEL CLEARS PUERTO RICO BILL: The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday approved legislation to help Puerto Rico handle its debt crisis.

The committee approved the bill in a 29-10 vote, sending a measure hailed as the last, best hope for dealing with the island's fiscal woes to the House floor.


All 10 votes against the bill were Republicans: Reps. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertJudiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question Gohmert calls Mueller an 'anal opening' ahead of testimony MORE (Texas), John FlemingJohn Calvin FlemingThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Overnight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments MORE (La.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.) Doug LaMalfa (Calif.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.) Cresent Hardy (Nev.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates MORE (Ariz.), Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanRepublican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland House panel votes to restrict possible changes to Air Force One design MORE (Va.) and Doug Lamborn (Colo.).

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a Freedom Caucus member who helped draft the bill, voted yes. Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) voted "present."

The Puerto Rico bill was developed over months of arduous negotiations and has the backing of House leaders in both parties, as well as the White House. It is expected to pass the House in early June, after the Memorial Day recess. I'll tell you how the bill changed--and how it didn't--right here: http://bit.ly/25muctt.

IRS CHIEF VOWS TO FINISH TERM IN FACE OF IMPEACHMENT: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says he has no plans to leave his position early, even though some Republicans are trying to impeach him.

"I've got another year-and-a half to go on my term, and I expect to fulfill the full term," Koskinen told reporters Wednesday, one day after several Republicans pressed for his impeachment during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Koskinen's term expires in November 2017. He said came out of retirement and took the IRS job in 2013 -- shortly after it was revealed the agency subjected Tea Party groups' applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny -- because he understood "the significance of the IRS." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda brings us up to speed: http://bit.ly/1WU7CDL.

LAWMAKERS BLAST DOJ, IRS OVER SEIZED FUNDS: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice on Wednesday for failing to return small-business owners' wrongly seized assets and for not being clear about when the funds would be remitted.

"You've brought a subcommittee together who can't agree about what time of day it is," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, which held a hearing on the topic.

"The capacity to treat people in the dismissive way in which the departments have treated them is the part that all of us really find just jarring," Roskam added.

The top Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, agreed that this is a topic on which Democrats and Republicans are strongly united.

"On this issue, we are on one accord," he said. Naomi Jaogda takes us there: http://bit.ly/1WUgklz.

REID: WE'RE NOT BREAKING THE BUDGET DEAL: Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller Steyer's impeachment solution is dead wrong MORE (D-Nev.) warned Wednesday that Democrats won't support additional funding for the Pentagon that would break the two-year budget deal brokered by President Obama and former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner won't say whether he'd back Biden over Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Amash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise MORE (R-Ohio).

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Meghan McCain shares story of miscarriage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Ariz.) is expected to offer an amendment to add at least $17 billion in defense spending to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Reid said Wednesday that senators had hoped to avoid a budget fight this year after passing the two-year deal but "it doesn't appear that's possible."

"Democrats are going to proceed deliberately. We're going to hold Republicans to their word on the budget agreement," the Senate Democratic leader said. "We're going to do our job as we want them to do theirs. Our armed forces and middle-class Americans deserve nothing else."

His comments come as Republicans have lashed out at Reid, accusing him of delaying action on the NDAA. The Hill's Jordain Carney explains: http://bit.ly/20CYvVK.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY and welcome to Overnight Finance, where we'd love to listen in on Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE's phone call tonight. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

Tonight's highlights include IRS phone scams, backlash to the Puerto Rico bill and how to force Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

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.


  • House Small Business Committee: Hearing titled "The Sharing Economy: A Taxing Experience for New Entrepreneurs, Part II," 10 a.m. http://1.usa.gov/1Tv3Duk.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee: Hearing titled "A Review of the U.S. Livestock and Poultry Sectors: Marketplace Opportunities and Challenges," 10 a.m. http://1.usa.gov/1TjXPpq.

BILL WOULD REQUIRE NOMINEES TO RELEASE TAX RETURNS: Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities MORE (D-Ore.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would require presidential nominees to release their tax returns.

The bill comes as likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump refuses to release his records.

Trump has said he won't release them until he is done being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But the IRS has said nothing prevents anyone from releasing their own returns, including an audit.

Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, pointed out that major-party candidates for almost 40 years have consistently released their tax returns. The Oregon senator has endorsed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch MORE, who has released more than 30 years of her returns. Naomi Jagoda tells us more: http://bit.ly/1NNEF9c.

CITIBANK TO PAY $425 MILLION TO SETTLE MANIPULATION CHARGES: Citibank is paying $425 million in penalties to settle federal civil charges for attempting to manipulate key benchmarks used to set interest rates.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Wednesday announced two settlements with Citibank, a wing of banking giant Citigroup, for trying to maximize profits by fixing the financial benchmarks.

The CFTC fined Citibank $250 million for trying on multiple occasions from January 2007 through January 2012, to manipulate and make false reports about the U.S. Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix (USD ISDAFIX), a global benchmark for interest rate products.

"Citibank is required to take specified steps to implement and strengthen its internal controls and procedures, including measures to detect and deter trading potentially intended to manipulate swap rates such as USD ISDAFIX and to ensure the integrity of interest-rate swap benchmarks," the CFTC said in a statement. The Hill's Vicki Needham explains: http://bit.ly/25hZCxn.

FIVE ARRESTED FOR IRS PHONE SCAMS: Five people were arrested this week for their alleged roles in phone scams involving impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said (TIGTA).

Those arrested are allegedly responsible for almost $2 million in scams with more than 1,500 victims, TIGTA said.

Under the suspects' scams, victims received phone calls from people pretending to be IRS agents. The callers would tell the victims that they would be arrested if they did not make payments, and the callers told victims to wire them money, TIGTA said, citing court documents. Naomi Jagoda tells us what happens next: http://bit.ly/1WUi0eI.

MENENDEZ OPPOSING PUERTO RICO DEBT BILL: A top Senate Democrat on Tuesday said that while he is encouraged by the progress made to craft legislation to aid Puerto Rico, a House bill doesn't go far enough to help the island territory.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Pompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors MORE (N.J.) said on the Senate floor that "Congress is faced with an immediate and serious choice" when it comes to passing legislation to help the island territory restructure $72 billion in debt.

"Indeed, the decisions we make in the next month will have profound consequences on the people of Puerto Rico for a generation," Menendez said.

"The stakes are so high, we simply have to get this right," he said. Vicki Needham tells us why he's not backing it: http://bit.ly/1NNF4Ze.

BUSINESS GROUPS PUSH FOR CLOSER US-INDIA RELATIONS: U.S. businesses groups are urging President Obama and Congress to make progress on the U.S. economic relationship with India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June visit to Washington.

In letters sent to the president and congressional leaders, the Alliance for Fair Trade with India, which includes a broad range of groups from manufacturers to pharmaceutical and telecommunications firms, said that Modi's trip presents an important opportunity to discuss and resolve many important commercial matters that are limiting India's own trade engagement and growth.

"We hope you will use this visit to engage with the Prime Minister to advance both discussions and concrete action to produce a stronger and more-promising U.S.-India commercial relationship," they wrote. Vicki Needham tells us what's at stake: http://bit.ly/1TKWLJA.

SENATOR PROPOSES SEPARATE BUDGET FOR REGULATIONS: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Senate to vote on 9/11 victims bill on Tuesday Meghan McCain slams Rand Paul over blocking 9/11 compensation funding: 'This is a disgrace' MORE unveiled legislation Wednesday that would force the president to draft a separate annual budget request for regulations.

Under the Regulatory Budget Act, introduced in both the House and Senate, Congress would be required to approve a budget specifically for regulations. The act would set caps on regulatory costs in tandem with the fiscal budget.

The bill, backed by Reps. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Dave Brat (R-Va.), would, for the first time, require Congress to vote on the total regulatory costs each agency is allowed to impose on the economy.

The legislation is part of the Article I project Lee started with Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), an initiative he's undertaken to reassert Congress's powers under Article I of the Constitution. The project covers the regulatory and budget process as well as civil service reforms. The Hill's Lydia Wheeler reports: http://bit.ly/1ONODlV.

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