Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records

Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records
© Greg Nash

House GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands: House Republicans are delaying consideration of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday amid growing divisions over their year-end strategy.

The House Rules Committee had planned to meet later Tuesday afternoon to prepare a short-term bill to fund the government through Dec. 22. 

But the panel reversed course and announced it will instead meet Wednesday afternoon. That would indicate a Thursday vote on the spending measure, bringing lawmakers closer to the Friday deadline.

House Republicans met for more than an hour on Tuesday morning to discuss the path forward on the government funding bill as the conservative House Freedom Caucus pushed to extend the deadline in the bill to Dec. 30.

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"The point is we're having the kind of family discussion that we need to have about how to proceed forward with a majority," Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters after the meeting.

Freedom Caucus members want to push the deadline to after Christmas because they worry the Dec. 22 deadline would increase the possibility that lawmakers would accept a spending package with extraneous measures, such as immigration and ObamaCare, to end work and return home for the holidays.

But other lawmakers are skeptical that a Dec. 30 deadline would make much difference, given that they'll want to leave Washington to be home for the New Year's holiday as well.

"I don't see a functional difference. One, you're up against Christmas, the other, New Year's," said Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus House votes to overhaul fishery management law The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Expensive and brutal: Inside the Supreme Court fight ahead MORE (R-Ala.).

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said leadership also committed Tuesday morning to not relying on Democratic votes to pass the funding bill. That could prove a challenge, as Republican leaders have in the past struggled to garner 218 GOP votes for spending legislation. The Hill's Cristina Marcos has more here: http://bit.ly/2Asjh7g.

 

Recap: The uncertainty comes after a drama-filled vote Monday night on a motion to go to conference on tax reform legislation with the Senate. During the vote, conservatives pushed for a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 30, not just for two weeks. GOP leaders said Monday night that they would agree to consider a Dec. 30 spending bill. But this morning, they reversed course and said they would push ahead with a Dec. 22 bill before deciding to push off the Rules Committee meeting.

 

Dems were quick to jump on the GOP divide over the spending... Schumer warns GOP: Listening to Freedom Caucus a 'recipe for chaos': Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) is warning Republicans that demands from the conservative House Freedom Caucus could make it harder to reach a government funding deal.

"If they cooperate with Democrats they can accomplish something. To just let the Freedom Caucus dictate [is] a recipe for chaos," Schumer said from the Senate floor. 

He pointed to members of the House Freedom Caucus holding up a vote on Monday night on going to conference on the tax bill as part of an effort to protest leadership's plans for a two-week stopgap spending bill. 

Schumer called the floor drama "hostage taking" that will "only impede the serious ongoing bipartisan negotiations." 

"If we're going to solve all the problems that confront us before the end of the year, House leaders cannot let the Freedom Caucus, a small band of hard right reactionary conservatives, run the show," he said: http://bit.ly/2Av4h8K.

 

Senate panel approves Powell as Fed chair, with only Warren voting no: The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday approved the nomination of Jay Powell to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The panel voted 22-1 to recommend Powell, a Federal Reserve governor and Republican appointed by President Obama in 2012. Only Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenMore Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) voted against Powell, who will likely be confirmed by the full Senate with wide bipartisan approval.

"His judgment and expertise will be a continued asset to the board," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoHillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law Trump authorizes sanctions against foreign governments that interfere in US elections Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Idaho.).

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (Ohio), the panel's ranking Democrat, voted for Powell, who he said gives the U.S. "the best chance of continued economic growth in spite of a Congress that keeps injecting uncertainty into the economy."

Brown said he was "disappointed" that Trump didn't renominate current Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, and that he hopes Powell will resist attempts by Trump to influence the bank.

Warren said she opposed Powell because "I'm very concerned that the Fed will systematically rollback post-crisis rules under Governor Powell's leadership." I've got more here: http://bit.ly/2AsXhZW.



Happy Tuesday 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.

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

  • House Financial Services Committee: Hearing entitled "Sustainable Housing Finance: Private Sector Perspectives on Housing Finance Reform, Part IV," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2Az39Bd.

 

Conservative lawmakers met to discuss GOP chair's ouster: Leaders of the conservative Republican Study Committee met last week and discussed their desire to oust Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenTrump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race On The Money: Lawmakers get deal to avoid shutdown | House panel approves 'tax cuts 2.0' bill | Jobless claims hold steady near 49-year low Congress sends first spending package to Trump in push to avert shutdown MORE as Appropriations chairman after the New Jersey Republican voted against the GOP tax-reform bill, The Hill has learned.

Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' MORE (R-La.), a former Republican Study Committee (RSC) chairman who's now the party's chief vote-counter, participated in that discussion last Thursday, GOP sources said.

The very next morning, RSC Chairman Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (R-N.C.) and another RSC leader huddled with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in his office and informed him that it was the "consensus" of RSC leadership that Frelinghuysen needs to go. The RSC leaders cited Frelinghuysen's "no" vote on the tax-cuts bill last month and his waffling over ObamaCare repeal earlier this year.

Frelinghuysen had initially told reporters he would oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA), but he eventually voted for the repeal and replace legislation after some arm-twisting by leadership.

"Having a chairman basically going rogue on the two most important issues we've promised … To me, there's a line there," Walker told The Hill in an interview Tuesday.

But that has many Appropriations committee members uneasy. Scott Wong explains: http://bit.ly/2A943VQ

 

White House disputes reports Mueller has subpoenaed Trump bank records: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday disputed reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Trump's bank records.

"We confirmed that the news reports [that] the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false," Sanders said during the daily press briefing.

"No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. I think this is another example of the media going too far and too fast and we don't see it going in that direction," she said.

Citing an anonymous and unidentified official, Reuters reported earlier Tuesday that Mueller's team had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, where Trump is believed to have a line of credit and to have conducted tens of millions of dollars in transactions.

But Sanders said those reports are false and were another example of the news media getting something wrong in the frenzy to report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Sanders declined to say whether banks should comply with subpoenas for records if they receive them. http://bit.ly/2ip9VPb

 

Chairman expects 'strong support' among House GOP for mandate repeal in tax bill: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse GOP bill a mixed bag for retirement savers China imposes new tariffs on billion of US goods: report Trump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday that he expects most House Republicans will support repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax legislation, as GOP senators did.

"We'll be asking our members where do they want us to be on that position. I suspect there will be strong support," he said.

The House-passed tax bill did not include repeal of the individual mandate, while the Senate bill did. The two chambers now must reconcile their versions of tax-reform legislation in a bicameral conference.

Twenty Republicans voted against the House's health-care bill in May, which included mandate repeal, though some of those members voted for the House's tax bill.

Mandate repeal is a top priority for House conservatives. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters on Monday night that including mandate repeal in the tax bill is a "must have." http://bit.ly/2Asisv8.

 

US trade deficit rises on record imports from China: Record imports from China helped drive up the U.S. trade deficit 8.6 percent in October as retailers stocked up for the holidays, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Goods and services coming into the U.S. from China, Mexico and the European Union all hit record levels, which boosted the trade gap to $48.7 billion from $44.9 billion in September. It's the highest monthly trade deficit recorded since President Trump took office.

Imports hit a record $244.6 billion in October on growing U.S. demand amid an improving economy, while exports were unchanged from September, at $195.9 billion. 

Goods and services from China totaled $48.2 billion, while EU imports amounted to $39.4 billion and imports from Mexico grew to $28.7 billion, which are all record highs.

"We have trade deficits with everybody," Trump said on Tuesday ahead of a lunch with Republicans urging the U.S. to remain in NAFTA. 

"Virtually every country in the world we have trade deficits with. And that's going to be changing --it's already changing -- but it's going to be changing fast," he said. http://bit.ly/2Aupdwz.

 

Senate panel advances bill to roll back Dodd-Frank: Republicans and a bloc of moderate Democrats took the first step toward advancing the most significant proposed changes to the Dodd-Frank Act with bipartisan support.

The Senate Banking Committee passed by a 16 to 7 vote  a sweeping bill that would exempt dozens of banks from Dodd-Frank and loosen the rules imposed after the financial crisis on smaller firms.

Banking panel members from both parties sought to strike a bipartisan deal that would win the approval of both Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).

After talks between Crapo and Brown collapsed in October, Crapo and the committee's Republicans joined with nine Democrats to sponsor the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.

The deal has enough support to overcome a Democratic filibuster, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingMidterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel Kavanaugh hires attorney amid sexual assault allegations: report Did Congress just settle for less than best plan to reform housing finance? MORE (R-Texas) said he's willing to work with Crapo on a version that could pass the lower chamber.

But the bill is based on a fragile bipartisan balance. The coalition consists of Republicans eager to make whatever rollbacks they can to Dodd-Frank and moderate Democrats up running for re-election in states that supported President Trump in 2016. I explain here: http://bit.ly/2AvObf3.

 

Mexican ambassador says NAFTA has 50-50 chance of being terminated: Mexico's ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that there is a 50-50 chance that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be terminated.

Gerónimo Gutiérrez said that despite tensions and a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the negotiations among the three trading partners -- Mexico, the United States and Canada -- he thinks that an updated NAFTA agreement can be reached sometime next year. 

"In spite of important differences, we're communicating fluently, we're engaging, and that's important," Gutierrez told CBS News.
"I'm moderately optimistic we can in fact reach an agreement in the next few months," he said.

The United States, Mexico and Canada completed their fifth round of renegotiations last month in Mexico City on the nearly 23-year-old free trade agreement with plenty of issues outstanding.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE said in a statement on Nov. 21 after those talks that he remains "concerned about the lack of headway" on the agreement.

"Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement," he said: http://bit.ly/2As316d.

 

Former consumer bureau director Cordray announces run for Ohio governor: Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordraySherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE the former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), launched his campaign for Ohio governor Tuesday, two weeks after leaving the financial sector watchdog.

Cordray, a Democrat who served as Ohio's attorney general before joining the CFPB, announced his candidacy at a diner in his hometown, Grove City, Ohio.

The former CFPB director had long been expected to run, but was barred by federal law from campaigning until he left the bureau. Cordray resigned from the CFPB on Nov. 24, two weeks after announcing his intention to leave.

Cordray cited his experience facing challenging "character builders" as CFPB director, Ohio attorney general and state treasurer in a video announcing his campaign.

It begins with footage of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing MORE praising Cordray's work on behalf of consumers as CFPB director. Cordray then recalls his work as the first director of CFPB, which was opposed by a GOP-controlled Congress.

"Being a voice for regular folks wasn't easy," Corday said. "Congress, big banks and then the new administration tried to protect their powerful interests. But we didn't back down." http://bit.ly/2AsYz7e.

 

Meanwhile back at his old agency... Financial firms pin CFPB hopes on Mulvaney: Major players in the financial industry hope for sweeping change at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) now that a staunch conservative is in charge.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyProtect the Military Lending Act On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors MORE was cleared to begin reshaping the CFPB when a federal court last week blocked an attempt to depose him. 

While Democrats are fretting about the CFPB's future, banks and others in the financial services sector are eager for a new start at an agency they've long considered unaccountable and harmful. 

"We want Mick Mulvaney to be smart, reasonable and balanced," said Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association. "He knows the CFPB has to work not only for the consumers, but for the markets together."
Hunt called for a top-to-bottom review of CFPB personnel in the hopes of bringing in more employees who "understand the relationship between banks and consumers."

Ironically, the very thing critics find most objectionable about the CFPB -- the power instilled in a single director -- now gives Mulvaney the ability to make wholesale changes to the CFPB's priorities.

"The structure of the CFPB is just fundamentally flawed. Authority that I have now as the acting director really should frighten people," Mulvaney said on Thursday. http://bit.ly/2AudsX1.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages:

Banks are not charity cases; stop acting like they are, senators, by Lisa Donner of Americans for Financial Reform

Bitcoin buyers: Proceed with extreme caution, by Andrew Wu from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Bank deregulation bill will leave taxpayers holding the bag, by Damon Silvers from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Time to reform the tax code to help millennials and women in business, by Carrie Sheffield of Generation Opportunity

 

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