Overnight Finance: Carson, Warren battle at hearing | Rumored consumer bureau pick meets Trump | Trump takes credit for Amazon hirings | A big loss for Soros
Carson, Warren battle at confirmation hearing: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled Ben Carson at his Thursday confirmation hearing to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The two went back and forth over whether Carson would commit at HUD to prevent any real estate companies linked to President-elect Donald Trump from contracting with the federal government to build low-income homes.
“Can you assure me that not a single taxpayer dollar you give out will financial benefit the president-elect or his family?” Warren asked Carson.
In response, the former GOP presidential candidate promised to not “play favorites.”
“I can assure you that the things that I do are driven by a sense of morals and values,” he said.
But Warren pressed Carson: “It’s not about your good faith. My concern is whether or not, among the billions of dollars you will be responsible for handing out in grants and loans, can you just assure us that not $1 will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family?”
“It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit [Trump],” Carson responded.
The Hill’s Tim Devaney has the rest of the contentious exchange: http://bit.ly/2jp54wM
Four takeaways from Carson’s confirmation hearing: The confirmation hearing put Carson, a 65-year old retired neurosurgeon, in the spotlight. In November he had rejected the idea of serving in the Trump administration because of his lack of experience.
The hearing, though, lasted about two and a half hours, in direct contrast to other pick such as Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson and Attorney General selection Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who each faced nearly 12 hours of interrogation.
Here are four takeaways from his time in the hot seat from The Hill’s Megan R. Wilson and Tim Devaney: http://bit.ly/2j5UR8X.
Carson’s prepared testimony contained apparent plagiarism: Remarks prepared for Dr. Ben Carson to deliver at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday appeared to include several portions of plagiarized text.
Carson did not actually deliver the remarks before the Senate Banking Committee. Instead, he quickly departed from the prepared text to discuss his life, background and political opinions.
But written testimony provided to the committee and made public had at least two instances where words were copied directly from outside works, with no reference or citation. The Hill’s Peter Schroeder tells us more: http://bit.ly/2jcIfPR.
Rumored consumer bureau pick meets with Trump: President-elect Donald Trump met with a former congressman reportedly being considered to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to the Dallas Morning News.
Former Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) met with Trump at Trump Tower on Wednesday, a transition official told the Morning News. Neugebauer, a former House Financial Services Committee member, was first elected in 2003 and retired in 2016.
The Trump transition is reportedly looking at Neugebauer to potentially replace Director Richard Cordray.
Neugebauer has been a vocal Republican critic of the agency. He filed a bill in 2015 to install a five-person bipartisan panel to run the bureau instead of a sole director. I’ve got more on the meeting here: http://bit.ly/2jcPgQf.
Trump team takes credit for Amazon hiring spree: President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team hailed Amazon’s plans to hire 100,000 new workers in the U.S. on Thursday and claimed Trump played a part in the tech giant’s move.
“The president-elect was pleased to play role in that decision,” incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a transition call.
“The announcement was made after the president-elect met with the heads of several other tech companies and urged to keep their jobs and production inside the United States. As you know Jeff Bezos was an integral part of that,” Spicer added.
Amazon was not immediately available for comment. The Hill’s Ali Breland has it here: http://bit.ly/2ii9XuU.
Happy Thursday and welcome to Overnight Finance, where we’re recovering from vote-a-rama. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.
Tonight’s highlights include a White House job for a notable Trump backer and a major divestment for a Trump nominee.
Trump health pick vows to sell off stocks to avoid conflicts: Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services will sell off his healthcare investments after facing scrutiny over his stock trades.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), in a letter to the HHS ethics office, vowed to divest his interests in 43 companies within 90 days if confirmed by the Senate.
Price has investments in healthcare companies like insurer Aetna and pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, but he also said he would divest from other companies like Verizon and Amazon. The Hill’s Jessie Hellmann breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2joQhC7.
Top Dem tax writer urges focus on the middle class: Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.), the new top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, warned Republicans against enacting tax cuts that predominantly benefit the wealthy.
“If we proceed down the path of concentrated tax cuts for people at the top, it only means more concentrated wealth,” he said Thursday at an event at the National Press Club.
Neal’s comments come as President-elect Donald Trump and House Republicans have made tax reform one of their top priorities for 2017. Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee are preparing legislation based on a blueprint released in June. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2jBsVc3.
Scaramucci lands White House job: Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent investor and member of President-elect Donald Trump’s presidential campaign finance team, has been tapped for a high-level White House role, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
While the position hasn’t been officially announced, sources close to the Trump transition told the Post that Scaramucci will take over the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, a powerful role currently held by Obama ally Valerie Jarrett.
That would put the former investor at the nexus of agenda-setting inside the Trump White House. The Post reported that Scaramucci will help foster White House relationships with the financial and technology sector. Here’s more from The Hill’s Ben Kamisar: http://bit.ly/2ilJGXt.
US launches trade case against China over aluminum subsidies: The Obama administration on Thursday launched a complaint against China over subsidies provided to aluminum producers it says created excess supply and hurt U.S. workers.
The United States filed the case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) arguing that artificially cheap bank loans and low-priced inputs for Chinese aluminum contribute to excess capacity that undercuts American workers and businesses.
“Today’s action follows significant engagement by this administration on excess capacity and demonstrates our commitment to hold China to its trade obligations,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
“Our record of tough enforcement with China speaks for itself: When China cheats, we’ve been right there, securing recourse for our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” he added.
Here’s more from The Hill’s Vicki Needham: http://bit.ly/2jcEMjA.
Report says Soros lost $1B in post-election market rally:
Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros lost about $1 billion in the market following President-elect Donald Trump’s White House win, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Soros expected the market to drop sharply after Election Day, the report said.
The stock market instead rallied on expectations that Trump’s policies will boost both corporate earnings and the overall economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 9.3 percent since Trump’s victory.
Soros avoided further losses by adjusting his positions late in 2016, the report added.
The Hill’s Mark Hensch has more here: http://bit.ly/2ipNPx0
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