Overnight Finance: Funding bill puts new restraints on financial regulators | Biz groups worry tax reform slipping | GOP divided over budget strategy

Overnight Finance: Funding bill puts new restraints on financial regulators | Biz groups worry tax reform slipping | GOP divided over budget strategy
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House financial services funding bill puts new restraints on regulators: A spending bill released Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee includes major restraints for financial regulatory agencies.

The panel's fiscal 2018 financial services spending bill would give Congress control of major federal financial regulators' budgets, and bar them from implementing certain rules passed in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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The restrictions were also included in a financial services bill approved by the House earlier this year, but that legislation faces an uncertain future in the Senate. 

Including the provisions in the spending bill, which is must-pass legislation, increases the odds they could become law. I'll tell you what's inside: http://bit.ly/2ujFLkr.

 

Rift opens in GOP over budget strategy: GOP lawmakers and outside groups are divided over whether Congress should lengthen the budget window to facilitate tax cuts.

Supporters of making the budget window longer than 10 years argue it would allow Congress to pass temporary tax cuts that could last for a longer period of time. Opponents think that tax reform should be permanent and therefore revenue neutral.

The idea of a longer window has gained support since Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) first floated the idea in early May, but the idea has yet to gain traction with GOP decisionmakers.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 'Congress' worst tax idea ever'? Hardly. MORE (R-Utah), whose panel has jurisdiction over taxes, said he'd like to extend the budget window but called it unlikely.

"We're pretty well stuck on the 10 years," Hatch said Tuesday. He noted that the Congressional Budget Office is used to providing 10-year estimates of bills' budgetary impacts. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda explains: http://bit.ly/2ujHV3n.

 

Biz groups worried about tax reform urge Congress to act: Four leading business groups on Wednesday urged the GOP Congress to press forward on a budget resolution that will set the stage for tax reform even as Republicans try to save their healthcare legislation.

In a letter to congressional leaders in both parties, the business groups said they understood that healthcare would now take up even more time for the Congress, but warned that the absence of a budget resolution was threatening tax reform.

The groups also highlighted tax reform as a "historic opportunity" unmatched by other "reforms under consideration."

"We understand that the Senate is actively considering health care legislation, but it is important that the House start the budget process now, so that reconciliation instructions will be available to move tax reform legislation expediently," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business wrote in the letter: http://bit.ly/2uk0xAe.

 

Happy Wednesday 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: 

Senate Banking Committee: Hearing on principles of housing reform, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2s4j9Ty.

House Ways and Means Committee: Joint hearing on the complexities and challenges of Social Security coverage and payroll tax compliance for state and local governments, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2sz0PW0.

 

US to heighten aviation screening instead of banning laptops: The U.S. is rolling out new aviation security measures for all international flights coming into the country instead of imposing a laptop ban, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday.

Passengers on U.S.-bound flights can expect to go through a more "extensive screening process" beginning as soon as this summer in some areas, according to senior officials. The enhanced procedures will impact 105 countries, 180 airlines and an average of 2,000 daily flights.

"It is time that we raise the global baseline of aviation security. We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat," DHS Secretary John Kelly said during a security conference on Wednesday.

"Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the traveling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed.

The administration's announcement comes after weeks of negotiations between the U.S. and Europe over whether to restrict large electronics on all U.S.-bound flights -- a policy that currently only applies to 10 overseas airports: http://bit.ly/2ujD2Yr.

 

Financial services bill cuts deeper than Trump's request: A House Appropriations panel is proposing cutting more funds from its annual financial services bill than President Trump requested in his budget proposal.

At $20.23 billion, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill cuts spending by $1.28 billion from current levels and $2.48 billion from Trump's requested levels.

Among the major cuts are $149 million from the IRS, putting the agency below its 2008 funding level. The bill also includes a series of rules that would restrict the IRS from targeting groups based on ideology, speech and religion.

It also cuts $981 million from the General Services Administration for maintaining federal buildings, $3 million from the Securities and Exchange Commission and nixes political contributions disclosure requirements in SEC filings. The Hill's Niv Elis breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2ujJD4W.

 

NY Supreme Court justice dismisses fraud lawsuit against Mnuchin: A New York Supreme Court justice granted a motion on Tuesday to dismiss Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin from a fraud lawsuit stemming from his business dealings with a film production company, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mnuchin was first dragged into the lawsuit by RKA Film Financing in 2015 for his role as a co-chairman of Relativity Media's board. RKA alleged in the suit that Relativity executives had misled it into investing tens of millions of dollars in the company and then misused the funds. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is also named in the suit.

But Mnuchin, once a major investor in the production company, stepped down from Relativity's board just months after joining. Relativity declared bankruptcy in 2015.

Justice Charles Ramos wrote on Tuesday that the lawsuit against Mnuchin "does not sufficiently establish" that the Treasury secretary was complicit or aware of Relativity potentially misleading RKA: http://bit.ly/2uk0tjY.

 

Appropriations bill increases immigration enforcement funding: The Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) appropriations bill released by lawmakers on Wednesday adds government funding for law enforcement and immigration enforcement in line with President Trump's "tough on crime" rhetoric.

The bill, which will be considered Thursday in the CJS subcommittee, contains $54 billion in funding for the Justice and Commerce departments and agencies such as NASA. That figure was $2.6 billion lower than the 2017 levels, but $4.8 billion higher than what Trump requested in his budget.

"This bill balances my two top priorities: being frugal with my constituents' hard-earned tax dollars, while supporting federal law enforcement and scientific agencies with the resources they need to do their job," said subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-Texas): http://bit.ly/2ujBi1l.

 

House panel approves energy spending: A House subpanel has approved a slimmed-down energy bill that would cut spending -- though not as much as proposed by President Trump.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development approved a $37.6 billion spending bill that represents a $209 million decrease from current spending levels. It would allocate $3.65 billion more than Trump's budget request.

The bill accepted Trump's proposal to eliminate the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), an agency that invests in energy-related research and development.

But it also leaned away from some of Trump's requests, adding funds for programs shoring up America's nuclear weapons and military engineering and continuing research and development for fossil fuels: http://bit.ly/2uk1sAN.

 

Trump retools Fastlane program: The Department of Transportation (DOT) is retooling an existing grant program to focus on projects that use funding from the private sector or other non-federal sources, as well as projects that address rural infrastructure needs, according to a release obtained by The Hill.

The agency will send a notice to the Federal Register on Thursday about the planned revisions, which offer a glimpse of how President Trump may tackle his $1 trillion infrastructure package later this year.

The FASTLANE grant program, which was established by the last highway bill to help fund freight and highway projects around the country, will now be called the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program. It was authorized by Congress to receive $4.5 billion over five years, beginning in 2016.

In addition to the name change, the INFRA program's selection criteria and goals have also been "substantially" revised, according to a fact sheet obtained by The Hill, which claims that the current system has not been working. It will seek to hold recipients more accountable by ensuring grant funding actually goes towards the specific project that was supposed to receive the funding.

The Hill's Melanie Zanona has more: http://bit.ly/2ujY8FU

 

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.comvneedham@thehill.comnjagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane,  @VickofTheHill@NJagoda and @NivElis