Overnight Finance: Senators struggle with spending bill | Obama lifting Myanmar sanctions | Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | Panel votes to exempt Olympic medals from taxes

House conservatives want first crack at funding bill: The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) will urge Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAt indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district MORE (R-Wis.) and his GOP leadership team to move a short-term government funding bill through the House before the Senate takes action on its own funding bill, RSC Chairman Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresPatient Protection Pledge offers price transparency Texas GOP lawmaker calls for 'carbon neutral' but 'energy dominant' future OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden calls climate change one of America's four major crises | National parks chief says coronavirus staff shortages shouldn't prevent access | Trump hits California officials over wildfires MORE told The Hill on Wednesday.


In an interview, the Texas Republican said the 178-member caucus discussed a 10-week continuing resolution, or CR, at its weekly lunch meeting and came to the consensus that the House should vote first so the lower chamber doesn't get jammed with a Senate bill it doesn't want.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled McConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden Mellman: The likely voter sham Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.) have been negotiating a 10-week funding bill to keep the government's lights on past Sept. 30 but are at an impasse over a Planned Parenthood provision and other issues. The Hill's Scott Wong and Sarah Ferris tell us why: http://bit.ly/2cFRHba.

Reid: We've got some issues: Over in the upper chamber, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) says there "are lots of problems" with a Republican proposal to fund the government beyond the end of the month, dampening hopes a deal might be reached this week.

Reid told reporters Wednesday that Republican and Democratic leaders are at loggerheads over the stopgap funding measure, which includes tens of millions of dollars to fight the Zika virus.

Republicans don't want any of the $80 million slated for Puerto Rico's Zika response to go to Planned Parenthood clinics.

"The CR is not done; it's a work in progress," Reid said, referring to the funding continuing resolution. "Zika funding is not done; it's a work in progress."

Asked whether the partisan dispute over granting Planned Parenthood access to federal funds remains a sticking point, Reid said, "Planned Parenthood is not gone." The Hill's Alexander Bolton takes us there: http://bit.ly/2cFRYur.

Lew meets with lawmakers on offshore tax rules: Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewApple just saved billion in tax — but can the tax system be saved? Lobbying World Russian sanctions will boomerang MORE met with House Ways and Means Committee members Wednesday as the Obama administration works to finalize rules aimed at curbing offshore tax deals.

The rules, proposed in April, have drawn concerns from business groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. They would treat some inter-company debt as equity.

The rules were designed to take aim at a tax-avoidance strategy called "earnings stripping" that is used by companies that participate in "inversions" -- transactions in which U.S. companies move their headquarters overseas to lower their taxes. However, stakeholders say the proposal is too broad and would hurt routine business transactions. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda tells us what happened inside the meeting: http://bit.ly/2cs9aSW.

Obama requests $2.6B in aid for Louisiana floods: The Obama administration is asking Congress for a $2.6 billion emergency appropriation to fund aid efforts following Louisiana's disastrous flooding last month.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Tuesday the money would go to block grants that Louisiana could use for a wide variety of purposes, like emergency aid, small business loans, infrastructure and affordable housing.

The plea to congressional leaders and appropriators comes a day after Louisiana's eight-member congressional delegation asked President Obama to formulate an aid request so Congress could consider it for a stopgap funding measure that the Senate could consider as early as this week. The Hill's Timothy Cama breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2cxD7l.

US restores trade benefits to Myanmar: The United States will reinstate Myanmar's eligibility for benefits under the generalized system of preferences (GSP) program, which lowers tariffs on imports from poorer countries.

President Obama signed a proclamation on Wednesday allowing the Southeast Asian nation to participate in the program again starting in November after a 27-year-hiatus.

"While there is more work to be done, including to address concerns regarding human trafficking, Burma has made important progress in recent years with respect to worker rights," said U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE. The Hill's Vicki Needham tells us why it's important: http://bit.ly/2c9oYqR.

Obama lifting sanctions: The move came after President Obama earlier Wednesday said he intends to lift sanctions on Myanmar, rewarding the former military dictatorship for its move toward democracy.

The president made the announcement after meeting with the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in the Oval Office.

Obama said he is "now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed," pointing to a "remarkable social and political transformation" in Myanmar.

"It is the right thing to do to ensure that the people of Burma see rewards for a new way of doing business," he said, sitting beside Suu Kyi. The military junta in Myanmar changed the country's name from Burma in 1989.

Asked by a reporter when sanctions will be lifted, Obama replied, "soon." The Hill's Jordan Fabian has more on the ramifications: http://bit.ly/2cW2ks4

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Overnight Finance, where we're wondering how it's only Wednesday. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

Tonight's highlights include good news for Olympic medalists, more Congressional heat on Wells Fargo and a proposal from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden MORE's potential Defense secretary.

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.

On tap tomorrow:

  • Senate Agriculture Committee: Hearing to examine the nominations of Christopher James Brummer, of the District of Columbia, and Brian D. Quintenz, of the District of Columbia, both to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2cIZ5Qk.

House panel votes to exempt Olympic medals from taxes: The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would exempt many Olympic athletes' medals and prize money from taxes.

The measure was approved by voice vote and heads to the House floor. The vote comes one month after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and during the Paralympic games.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said that the full chamber will consider the measure. The Senate passed a version of the legislation in July.

The bill would generally exempt from taxes the value of Olympic and Paralympic medals as well as prize money awarded to medalists by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The bill would apply to medals and prizes athletes received in 2016 and future years.

The Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment from Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) that would prevent the tax exemption from applying to athletes whose adjusted gross income was more than $1 million. Naomi Jagoda tells us more: http://bit.ly/2cWaros.

GOP rep: Flood insurance bill coming this month: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said on Wednesday that he plans to introduce a bill this month reforming a federal flood insurance program.

Luetkemeyer, chairman of the Financial Services subcommittee on insurance, said his bill -- the product of almost a year of work -- would expand private flood insurance coverage, change rates within the industry and reduce the National Flood Insurance Program's $23 billion debt.

"As taxpayers ... you're paying that $23 billion that's a shortfall right now, some way, some how, some point in time," Luetkemeyer said during an event sponsored by The Hill and Zurich North America.

"So, how do we structure the program in the future so that doesn't increase and be another burden on all of you to have to take care of down the road?"

The program is due for congressional reauthorization next year, creating an opportunity to make changes to the 50-year-old program. The Hill's Devin Henry walks us through: http://bit.ly/2cxDyMw.

GOP lawmaker: Obama must rally Dems on Pacific trade deal: The head of a House trade subcommittee said Wednesday that President Obama must rally members of his own party to pass an expansive Pacific trade agreement in Congress this year.

Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertWashington Rep. Kim Schrier wins primary Mail ballot surge places Postal Service under spotlight Bottom Line MORE (R-Wash.), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, said that passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will need more than the 40 Democrats who may possibly support the expansive deal.

"There are some political realities here that we all know are creating this uphill battle for us," Reichert said during the Export-Import Council meeting at the White House, the final one of Obama's presidency.

All 28 Democrats who voted with Republicans more than a year ago to pass trade promotion authority, or fast-track, are on board with the TPP, Reichert said. Vicki Needham breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2c9pnt8.

Potential Clinton Defense secretary calls for lifting budget caps: A key Defense Department figure thought to be a candidate to be Hillary Clinton's secretary of Defense is calling for caps on the defense budget to be lifted early in the next administration.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy on Wednesday said raising the caps is "a national security issue."

"We have to get out from under [Budget Control Act] caps," she added, speaking at an Institute for the Study of War conference in Washington.

The 2011 Budget Control Act enacted caps on the Pentagon's budget that slashed its budget by $500 billion over 10 years, when lawmakers failed to reach a deal on how to close a $1 trillion budget deficit.

Those cuts were on top of an already-planned cut of $487 billion during that time. The Hill's Kristina Wong has more: http://bit.ly/2c9oOQj.

GOP senator wants hearing on international tax issues: Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.) is asking the Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing on international tax issues, such as the Treasury Department's proposed rules aimed at curbing offshore tax deals and the European Union's investigations of U.S. companies.

"I believe it is critical the Senate Finance Committee has the opportunity to discuss these issues and the ramifications of these issues in a hearing," Heller, a member of the committee, said in a letter sent this week to Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchBottom line Bottom line Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (R-Utah).

Treasury's proposed rules and the EU's ruling that Apple owes Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes have drawn criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Naomi Jagoda has more: http://bit.ly/2cydqOr.

Lawmakers look to boost agricultural exports to Cuba: Lawmakers at a House Agriculture Committee hearing on Wednesday pushed to expand American agricultural trade with Cuba.

"I believe there lays an opportunity -- albeit a rather narrow one -- to make changes that will positively benefit both agricultural producers here at home while contributing to economic growth in Cuba," said Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) in his opening statement.

Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) are co-sponsors of the Cuban Agricultural Exports Act, which would permit private financing for agricultural exports to Cuba.
Conaway said the Castro regime's "heavy hand" still controlled Cuban agriculture but that their legislation could spur positive change.

Peterson also said more must be done to boost American agricultural exports to the island nation. The Hill's Ellie Silverman has more: http://bit.ly/2cK1jQv.

Treasury floats gold jewelry ban for banks: The Department of the Treasury is proposing a ban on gold jewelry for banks.

Investing in gold jewelry and certain other precious metals does not fall within the "business of banking," the Treasury Department said Wednesday in the Federal Register.

As such, the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is looking to block national banks and federal savings associations from buying and selling metals that are "primarily suited for industrial or commercial use," such as gold jewelry, copper cathodes, and aluminum T-bars. The Hill's Tim Devaney tells us more: http://bit.ly/2cycIAN.

Cummings demands more details on Wells Fargo fraud scheme: A top House Democrat is calling on Wells Fargo & Co. to produce documents that would help determine whether the bank's managers spurred employees to create fake accounts by using incentives and threats to meet sales goals.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter on Tuesday to Wells CEO John Stumpf requesting information on how the company is holding employees and executives accountable for allegedly opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers' knowledge.

"Wells Fargo apparently just fired more than 5,000 employees, but it is unclear whether the executives who orchestrated this scheme will be held accountable," Cummings said after meeting with Tim Sloan, Wells Fargo's president and chief operating officer, in Washington.

Cummings gave Sloan the letter for Stumpf requesting documents about how its "managers used quotas, bonuses, threats and other punitive measures to perpetrate these abuses."  

Any managers who directed the abuses or enforced the quotas should be investigated and prosecuted, he said: http://bit.ly/2cWbV26.


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