Overnight Finance: McConnell thinks Dodd-Frank revamp, border tax unlikely to pass Senate | GOP not sold on Ryan tax plan | Dem bill would make Trump refund travel costs | New sanctions on Assad backers

Overnight Finance: McConnell thinks Dodd-Frank revamp, border tax unlikely to pass Senate | GOP not sold on Ryan tax plan | Dem bill would make Trump refund travel costs | New sanctions on Assad backers
© Greg Nash

McConnell 'not optimistic' Dodd-Frank overhaul will happen: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Battle for Senate 'a 50-50 proposition' 'Packing' federal courts is already a serious problem What a Biden administration should look like MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he's "not optimistic" that Congress will pass a major bill to change the Dodd-Frank financial reform law despite President Trump's promise to "dismantle" it.

McConnell said on Bloomberg News this morning that he doesn't think enough Democrats would support a bill to gut the sweeping financial regulations passed under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWall Street backed Biden campaign with million in 2020 cycle: report Obama, Biden to campaign together in Michigan The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Tech execs testify on platforms' liability MORE. Republicans would need 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster but only control 52 seats in the upper chamber.

"I'm not optimistic," McConnell said. "So far, my impression is the Democrats on the banking committee believe that Dodd-Frank is something akin to the Ten Commandments."

McConnell's comments point to the long odds that major Dodd-Frank changes face in the Senate. I explain why here: http://bit.ly/2rdswE5.

House GOP not sold on Ryan's tax reform plan: Dozens of Republican lawmakers are raising concerns or say they are undecided on Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE's (R-Wis.) proposed tax on imports, suggesting the Speaker's broader tax reform plan may not have the votes to pass the House.


The Hill has been tracking House Republicans' positions on the border-adjustment tax for the last several months based on interviews with lawmakers and their aides, as well as comments made to other media outlets. Of the more than 50 GOP House members whose stances The Hill has learned, only about 15 appear supportive, while more than three dozen have either raised concerns about the provision or said they do not yet have a position. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2rdorQ5.

And McConnell is also skeptical a border tax could pass the Senate: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) border-adjustment proposal to tax imports "probably wouldn't pass the Senate."

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, McConnell said that he is meeting with Ryan and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the hopes of reaching an agreement on a tax-reform proposal. 

"Border adjustability is a pretty controversial thing in the Senate, but we'll see what's in the final thing we agree to," McConnell said: http://bit.ly/2rd8dXo.

But House Republicans are pushing ahead with a border tax hearing next week: The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing next week that will focus in part on the controversial border-adjustment tax provision in Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) tax plan.

The May 23 hearing, titled "Increasing U.S. Competitiveness and Preventing American Jobs from Moving Overseas," will be part of a series of tax-reform hearings that the Ways and Means Committee is kicking off on Thursday.

Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers offer bipartisan bill to encourage retirement savings On The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday that a "key element" of next week's hearing will be "border adjustment and the role that it plays as crucial element in tax reform to level the playing field for 'Made in America' products here and abroad." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has more here: http://bit.ly/2rdl8IX

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Finance. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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:

  • Joint Economic Committee: Hearing entitled "The State of Social Capital in America Today," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2r1IHUN.
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch: Hearing on the House of Representatives' fiscal 2018 budget, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2r1TNsM.
  • Senate Budget Committee: Hearing entitled "Ways to Run Government for Less," 10:30 a.m. http://bit.ly/2r1Xsa6.
  • House Agriculture Committee: Hearing on the state of the rural economy with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2r23tnn.

Dems propose scrapping law GOP used to overturn regulations: Democrats are taking aim at President Trump's power to roll back regulation.

The Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections (SCRAP) Act introduced Tuesday by Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Judge tosses land management plans after ousting Pendley from role | Trump says he could out-raise Biden with calls to Wall Street, oil execs | Supreme Court to review Trump border wall funding, asylum policies OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pendley says court decision ousting him from BLM has had 'no impact' | Court strikes down Obama-era rule targeting methane leaks from public lands drilling | Feds sued over no longer allowing polluters to pay for environmental projects  Pendley says court decision ousting him from BLM has had 'no impact' MORE (N.M.) would eliminate the law that Trump and Republican lawmakers have used to repeal more than a dozen Obama-era regulations. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is backing identical legislation in the House.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) makes it easier for lawmakers to repeal regulations they disapprove of from the executive branch. Under the 1996 law, Congress only needs a simple majority to rollback recently issued regulations. Federal agencies are also blocked from publishing similar rules in the future. Here's more from The Hill's Tim Devaney: http://bit.ly/2rdjtmz.

Dem bill would make Trump refund travel costs: Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Tuesday announced a new bill that would require President Trump to reimburse the government for public money spent on his travel to properties he owns, such as his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"It is unacceptable for the president to maintain an interest in traveling to properties in which he has a direct financial interest, as the U.S. government is responsible for renting space to personnel in said private commercial entities," Lieu's bill says, according to The Washington Examiner.

The Stop Waste and Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act states that Trump's visits to his own properties "results in the American taxpayer effectively subsidizing the president's businesses."

The Hill's Mark Hensch has more: http://bit.ly/2ronxNR

Republican decries Capitol duck ramp as 'government waste': A GOP member of the House is lamenting new "duck ramps" on Capitol grounds as an example of "government waste."

"If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be government waste," Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) tweeted on Tuesday.

The ramps are intended to help ducklings go in and out of the Capitol reflecting pool, and were built in collaboration with City Wildlife, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife in Washington.

"The Capitol Reflecting Pool has been a popular attraction – for ducks and humans!" Architect of the Capitol spokeswoman Erin Courtney wrote in a blog post on Monday. But, "some ducklings have trouble climbing out of the pool or returning to it once out of the water," prompting the construction of the ramps.

The reflecting pool is currently home to four families of Mallard ducks.

The Hill's Max Greenwood has more on the duck ramp here: http://bit.ly/2pHZqNb

Dems want hearing on Sinclair-Tribune merger deal: A group of House Democrats are calling for a hearing on the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Company.

Minority members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- Reps. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Doris Matsui (Calif.) -- called for the acquisition to be scrutinized by the panel, especially in the wake of a recent Federal Communications Commission vote.

"This $3.9 billion deal would create the largest television broadcast company in the country, and as such, raises important questions about the future of our country's media that must be examined by Congress," the Democrats wrote.

The letter was sent to Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Senate Judiciary to vote on subpoena for Twitter CEO next week Government efforts to 'fix' social media bias overlooks the destruction of our discourse MORE (R-Tenn.) -- the chair of the subcommittee on technology.

Democrats have criticized a recent move by the FCC to reinstate a media ownership rule that they believe directly paved the way for the Sinclair-Tribune deal.

The Hill's Harper Neidig has more here: http://bit.ly/2qpMLgZ

Feds sanction Assad insiders after report of mass killings: The Treasury Department on Tuesday targeted five Syrian individuals and five firms with ties to the country's president, Bashar Assad, blocking them from the United States financial system.

The new sanctions come one day after U.S. officials confirmed Assad's regime executed and cremated thousands of political prisoners outside of Damascus.

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted several Syrians close to Assad and various businesses and firms they use to fund his regime and help it evade financial sanctions. I've got more here: http://bit.ly/2rdfDK7.

Housing starts fell in April but builders remain optimistic: Home construction slowed for the second straight month in April but builders remain optimistic in the housing market's expansion.

Housing starts dropped 2.6 percent to 1.17 million units after a 6.6 percent decrease in March left home building at its lowest point since last November, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.

"Despite this minor pull back, builders are optimistic about market conditions and expect more consumer activity in the months ahead," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

A drop in multifamily production, which fell 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337,000 units, weighed on construction: http://bit.ly/2rcJpyQ.


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