Overnight Finance

Overnight Finance: Mnuchin says failing to pass tax reform would hurt stock market | GOP leaders split on tax plan timing | Dems say WH meet didn't win them over on taxes | Schumer urges Dems to keep gun votes out of budget debate

Mnuchin: Tax reform failure would hurt stock market: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said if Congress fails to pass a bill overhauling the tax code, Wall Street will suffer.

"There is no question that the rally in the stock market has baked into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done," Mnuchin in an interview with a Politico podcast released Wednesday. "It also has baked into it optimism on regulatory relief which they've begun to see and there's expectations [of continuing]."

"So I think to the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. But there's no question in my mind if we don't get it done, you're going to see a reversal of a significant amount of these gains," he added.

The stock market has shown gains since President Trump was elected, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching above 23,000 for a time on Tuesday. Here's more from The Hill's Naomi Jagoda: http://bit.ly/2ilwCai.


Vulnerable Dems say White House tax meeting didn't win them over: Democratic senators facing reelection next year said Wednesday that President Trump's tax pitch in a White House meeting failed to win them over.

While many Democrats have expressed interest in simplifying the tax code, they also expressed concerns that the tax framework from the White House and congressional Republicans would largely benefit the rich. Democrats also complained that they do not have enough specifics.

"The president certainly is talking a lot about just wanting to help the middle class, and he's talking a lot about wanting a bipartisan bill, but I think the best way to start to get a bipartisan bill is let the Democrats see what you're going to propose," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told reporters.

"I don't ever remember a negotiation over principles," she added: http://bit.ly/2ilNEFt.


GOP leaders differ on tax timing expectations: GOP leaders are working to manage expectations on tax reform -- though they sometimes seem at cross-purposes.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has laid out an ambitious timeline that would see the House approve legislation in November.

"So by early November, we'll get it out of the House. We'll send it to the Senate," Ryan said during a Wisconsin radio interview on Monday. "The goal: get law in December so that we wake up with New Year's and a new tax code in 2018."

Not so fast, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seemed to suggest the same day.

"If we get it done, that's a great achievement," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden on Monday while standing next to McConnell. "But don't forget it took years for the Reagan administration to get taxes done. I've been here for nine months, a little more than nine months."

McConnell then made the point that President Obama didn't secure victories on health care and Wall Street reform until his second year in office. http://bit.ly/2ik9EAi.


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

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Mnuchin: 'Very hard' to not cut rich people's taxes: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says in a new interview that it is "very hard" to avoid cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans when engineering tax cuts for the middle class.

In a Politico podcast released Wednesday, Mnuchin said avoiding a tax cut for wealthy Americans was impossible, due to how much the rich pay in taxes.

"The top 20 percent of the people pay 95 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent of the people pay 81 percent of the taxes," Mnuchin told Politico. "So when you're cutting taxes across the board, it's very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class."

"The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do," he added. http://bit.ly/2ika6P0.


House Oversight threatens to subpoena Sessions over officials' travel: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to issue a subpoena if Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not provide information about Trump administration officials' use of private aircraft.

Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel's top Democrat, said they had not received "sufficient communication" from the Justice Department in response to their inquiry.

Gowdy and Cummings had asked Sessions in a Sept. 26 letter to provide information about officials' use of government-owned or noncommercial aircraft by Oct. 10. They made the same inquiries for documents concerning senior officials' travel practices from the White House and 23 other federal agencies.

The Oversight Committee leaders cited rules stating that federal workers' official travel must be "by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable" and "commensurate with the nature and purpose of the [employees'] duties." http://bit.ly/2ilaAEs.


Democrat: Trump joked about releasing tax returns: President Trump joked about potentially releasing his tax returns on Wednesday during a meeting with members of the Senate's tax-writing committee, according to a Democratic lawmaker attending the meeting.

"He joked about, someday maybe you'll see my tax returns," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told reporters. 

Trump is the first president in decades who hasn't made at least some of his tax returns public. He cited an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit as his reasoning, but the tax agency has said that an audit doesn't prevent people from releasing their own tax information.

Democrats, along with a few Republicans, have called for Trump to release his returns. Democratic lawmakers have unsuccessfully pushed to get the chairmen of the tax-writing committees to request the president's returns from the Treasury Department, and they have also offered legislation that would require presidents and presidential nominees to disclose their returns. http://bit.ly/2ijUDP8.


Bipartisan bill would force Commerce Dept. to judge economic risks of foreign investments: A bipartisan bill released Wednesday would require the Commerce Department to review foreign investments for potential harm to the United States economy.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), aims to block foreign private and state-owned companies from investing in U.S. companies if it could benefit international competitors.

"President Trump committed to putting a stop to U.S. industry's being taken advantage of by foreign companies and countries," said Grassley. "This bipartisan legislation is an opportunity to fulfill that pledge by empowering the Administration to block foreign investment that threatens the United States' long-term economic interests."

"State-owned enterprises and foreign investors determined to put American companies out of business should not be able to invest in our economy at the expense of American workers," said Brown. "Before we do business with a foreign entity, let's make sure it will create jobs and grow the U.S. economy." http://bit.ly/2ikQeey.


Trump officials assure Republicans an infrastructure plan is coming: The White House reassured Senate Republicans that President Trump remains committed to rebuilding U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works, according to lawmakers who attended a meeting with administration officials on Wednesday.

"I thought it was a very positive conversation. A lot of clear ideas emerging, a lot of clear commitment to the passage of an infrastructure bill," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told The Hill.

But key details about the long-awaited infrastructure proposal -- and an estimated timetable for its release and consideration in Congress -- remain up in the air.

"We didn't spend a lot of time on funding," Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told The Hill.

There was "no sense of timing," Gardner said. http://bit.ly/2ikABE9.


Schumer: Keep gun votes out of budget debate: Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said on Wednesday that he doesn't want to get bogged down in a debate over gun control, which could come back to bite Democrats running for reelection, when the Senate debates the budget this week.

Instead, the Democratic leader wants to limit the focus to President Trump's tax plan and the Republican proposal to cut the growth of Medicare, issues that Democratic strategists think will play better with voters in swing states next year.

"I would like to and I am urging my caucus to limit it to four issues," Schumer told reporters.

"Four issues, we would try to limit our amendments. One, tax breaks aimed at the very wealthy; two, no tax increases for the middle class; three, no cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; and four, deficit neutral," he said.

"Those are those four issues we'd like to focus on instead of doing a long vote-a-rama on every other issue," he added. http://bit.ly/2ikGhOp.


Op-Eds from The Hill's Contributors:

More than a 'Trump bump': Consumers getting swagger back, by

Markus Schomer, chief economist at PineBridge Investments

A solution for Congress to keep business and jobs in America, by Robert Pozen, MIT Sloan School of Management and the Brookings Institution


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

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