Overnight Finance: Congress sends Trump funding bill to avert shutdown | WH sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending | GOP discovers corporate tax snag | Consumer bureau fight heats up | Apple could see $47B windfall from tax bill

Overnight Finance: Congress sends Trump funding bill to avert shutdown | WH sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending | GOP discovers corporate tax snag | Consumer bureau fight heats up | Apple could see $47B windfall from tax bill
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Senate sends funding bill to Trump to avert government shutdown: The Senate on Thursday cleared a two-week stopgap funding bill, one day before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The bill now heads to the White House, where President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE is expected to sign it.

Congress had until the end of Friday to pass a bill or spark a government shutdown -- something GOP leadership has been adamant they would not let happen while they control the levers of power in Washington.

Lawmakers now face another deadline on Dec. 22, setting up a funding showdown just three days before Christmas.

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Top GOP senators urged their colleagues to support the legislation despite grumbling among some in the caucus about the impact a continuing resolution (CR) has on military spending.

"We need this legislation to give Congress and the administration additional time to agree on responsible spending levels for the current fiscal year and beyond. ... I hope the Dec. 22 backstop will facilitate an agreement that will enable the Congress to provide funding for important national security and domestic priorities," Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid Biden has a lot at stake in first debate MORE (R-Miss.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said shortly before the Thursday evening vote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEverytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms MORE (R-Ky.) said the stopgap measure would "provide us with the time we need to complete discussions on a long-term solution."

But Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Advice for fellow Democrats: Don't count out Biden, don't fear a brokered convention McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said it was "unacceptable" that Congress was passing the stopgap bill.

"I have implored Congress and the White House to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement, because without one, the military will be funded under a Continuing Resolution at the Budget Control Act levels," he said.

Senate Republicans can't pass a government funding bill on their own, and needed consent from Democrats to speed up debate of the legislation to meet Friday's deadline.

Democratic leadership remained tight-lipped throughout the week about if they would support a continuing resolution as they looked for leverage in negotiations on a final, year-end spending package.

 http://bit.ly/2k8eDBk.

 

And for more on the House vote earlier in the day... The House on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending bill one day before a deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

House Republicans managed to pass the legislation on their own in the 235-193 vote, despite often coming short of securing a majority of the majority on measures to keep the government open in recent years.
"I think it's kind of just basic governing is keeping government going while we negotiate the final details," said Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Paul Ryan says Biden likely won't get Democratic nomination Judd Gregg: Honey, I Shrunk The Party MORE (R-Wis.).

Ahead of Thursday's vote, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBloomberg faces criticism for tweet showing altered debate moment Trump knocks Democrats at rally: Bloomberg 'getting pounded' Biden earns endorsement from former House impeachment manager MORE (D-Calif.) made clear that Democrats wouldn't support the two-week stopgap.

Pelosi emphasized that Democrats don't want to see a government shutdown, but couldn't support Thursday's bill because it doesn't include their priorities like protections for young undocumented immigrants, funding for the opioid crisis and relief for communities affected by recent natural disasters. 

"This is a waste of time," Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol. Here's more from The Hill's Cristina Marcos: http://bit.ly/2k87T6u.

 

White House official sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending: President Trump and congressional leaders reached a "tentative agreement" on Thursday to raise defense spending levels as part of a year-end government funding package, according to a White House official.

The leaders were "moving toward an agreement" on nondefense spending after a meeting in the Oval Office designed to resolve the contentious funding battle, the official said.

The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations between Trump and the top four congressional leaders.

Democrats don't have nearly as optimistic view of the outcome of Thursday's meeting, however.

Democratic leaders insist there cannot be a deal on the defense spending number without an agreement in tandem on spending for non-defense programs, a position they have long held.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a less rosy assessment of how much progress had been made.

Asked if negotiators were any closer to a deal on the spending caps, McConnell replied, "I wouldn't say that."

The Hill's Jordan Fabian and Alexander Bolton have the story: http://bit.ly/2nEn6Bj

 

Happy Thursday 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.

 

Republicans confront new snag for corporate tax cut: Republican senators are wrestling with how to handle the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) in the final tax-cut bill.

Senators had initially proposed repealing the corporate AMT. But not long before the chamber passed its tax bill early Saturday morning, they reinstated it to help offset other tax provisions.

The late addition has roiled business groups, who warn that keeping the corporate AMT would be harmful and dampen the economic benefits of the legislation. 

Many Republicans say they want to repeal the tax or mitigate its impact. But there are challenges to doing so because lawmakers will have to find other ways to raise revenue.

"It would be nice if we could eliminate the AMT. However, I'd like to see what the pay-for would be," Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOvernight Defense: Pentagon policy chief resigns at Trump's request | Trump wishes official 'well in his future endeavors' | Armed Services chair warns against Africa drawdown after trip GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' Trump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters Wednesday.

When asked if the corporate AMT would be in the final bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump administration backs Oracle in Supreme Court battle against Google Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (R-Utah) said, "Right now it doesn't look like it, but you never know." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2k7VC21.

 

McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday evening announced that eight Senate Republicans would serve on a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate tax bills.

The announcement follows the Senate approving a motion for the legislation to go to conference earlier in the day.

"Now that the Senate has voted to join our House colleagues in a conference committee, I'm confident that this distinguished group of senators will work to get the job done for the American people," McConnell said in a statement.

The conferees include three leaders of relevant committees: Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine McConnell will not bring budget resolution to the floor MORE (R-Wyo.) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump budget includes proposal for US Consulate in Greenland Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Alaska).

Besides cutting taxes, the bill also would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, making Murkowski relevant.

McConnell also named five other GOP Finance Committee members to the conference: Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan warnings Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Booker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs MORE (Texas), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran As many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to combat cyberattacks on state and local governments MORE (Ohio), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Sunday shows preview: Top tier 2020 Democrats make their case before New Hampshire primary Democrat gives standing ovation to Trump comments on opportunity zones MORE (S.C.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (Pa.). http://bit.ly/2k8fIZS.

 

Poll: Most Americans believe GOP tax plan will help corporations, wealthy, investors: A majority of Americans polled believes the Republican-backed tax plan will benefit corporations and wealthy Americans, according to a new CBS News poll.

Seventy-six percent of Americans polled said they believed the plan would help corporations, while 69 percent said it would benefit the wealthy. 

The poll also found 53 percent of those polled said they disapproved of the plan, while 35 percent said they approved of it. 
Forty-one percent of Americans also said they expected their taxes to go up under the plan. 

The poll comes less than a week after Senate Republicans fulfilled a major campaign promise in passing legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code. It would reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 20 percent and would lower tax rates for individuals through 2025. http://bit.ly/2k8pH1j.

 

Deputy consumer bureau chief challenges court ruling for control of agency: The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a federal court Wednesday night to halt a previous ruling that cleared President Trump to appoint a temporary chief in her place.

The move by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English is the latest maneuver in the fight for control of the agency.

English filed an injunction in the District Court for the District of Columbia to block Office of Budget and Management Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney calls out GOP for being 'a lot less interested' in deficits under Trump than Obama: report Overnight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response MORE from leading the agency.

English's complaint asks the court to impose her restraining order against Mulvaney after it dismissed her effort two weeks ago. I have more here: http://bit.ly/2k9fLVp.

 

Clinton hits GOP over lack of children's health funding: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Roger Stone gets over three years in prison; Brutal night for Bloomberg Poll: Democrats trail Trump in Wisconsin, lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania MORE is pushing Congress to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), denouncing Republicans for passing tax cuts while the program's authorization has expired. 

"I'm going to keep tweeting about this, and speaking out every chance I get, until it is fixed," the former Democratic presidential nominee tweeted on Thursday.

The authorization for CHIP, which covers 9 million children, expired on Sept. 30, but no states have yet run out of money. Several states are in danger of running out soon, though, some by the end of the year. 

While funding for the program has been bogged down in partisan fighting over how to pay for it, CHIP money is expected to be added to a year-end spending package later this month. 

Congressional Democrats, in particular, are making CHIP funding a key demand: http://bit.ly/2k7uXSW.

 

RSC chief: House leaders say no funding for ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill: House leaders have promised conservatives that the next spending bill will not contain funding for ObamaCare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerHouse passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum NCAA and its allies spent 0K on lobbying last year amid push for athlete pay Trump touts initiative for disadvantaged communities in Charlotte MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday.

"The three things that we've been told are not gonna happen as part of our agreement: no CSRs, no DACA, no debt limit," Walker said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), said the promise was made during a meeting RSC members had with House leaders on Tuesday afternoon.

The cost-sharing subsidies have been a flashpoint during negotiations over both the GOP tax bill and the bill to continue funding the government beyond Dec. 22.

In exchange for her vote on the tax bill, Senate GOP leaders promised Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Susan Collins in statistical tie with Democratic challenger: poll MORE (R-Maine) they would include bipartisan legislation to fund the cost-sharing reductions as part of the spending bill.

The House and Senate are in the process of working out the differences between the tax bills passed by their respective chambers. A final version could pass as soon as next week. http://bit.ly/2AD8sNr

 

Judge sets March trial date for AT&T merger fight: A federal judge set March 19 as the trial date for the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

AT&T had asked that the trial begin in February, while prosecutors with the Justice Department's antitrust division requested May.

"This is not a normal case -- from many perspectives," Judge Richard Leon told the two legal teams Thursday.

AT&T had been pushing for an expedited trial to beat the merger's April 22 deadline. If the deal doesn't close by then, AT&T will have to pay $500 million to Time Warner.

Leon urged the companies to consider pushing back the deadline.

"Getting an opinion on April 22 is not going to happen," he said.

AT&T said it was looking forward to making its case for the merger.

"We thank the Court for its deliberate and expeditious approach to this matter," David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said in a statement. "We understand and appreciate how busy the Court is, and we will promptly discuss the Court's post-trial schedule with Time Warner."

The proposed merger would join AT&T, a telecom giant, with Time Warner's entertainment businesses, including HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner Media. http://bit.ly/2nIZFai

 

Analysis: Apple poised for $47 billion windfall from GOP tax bill: Apple is likely to win big under the tax plan that Republicans are pushing through Congress, according to the Financial Times.

The Cupertino, Calif., firm could make as much as $47 billion in additional profits from the tax legislation, according to the paper's estimates.

The Senate version of the tax proposal, which would allow Apple to bring home profits it has stashed overseas at a maximum 14.5 percent tax rate, would be a huge discount over the proposed 25 percent corporate tax rate, and an even bigger deal than the current 35 percent rate.

Apple isn't the only company that stands to significantly benefit from the legislation. It does, however, stand to gain the most, as it has almost double the amount of profits overseas as the next closest firm, Microsoft. The Seattle-based software firm keeps $132 billion overseas, compared with Apple's $252 billion. http://bit.ly/2kx60Et

 

US locks in duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry: A U.S. trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry saying the U.S. has been harmed by unfair practices.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) made a final determination, in a 4-0 vote, that Canada subsidizes and dumps lumber exports into the United States, a move that is likely to increase already tense negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which filed a petition last year with the Commerce Department to open a case against Canada's softwood lumber industry, praised the decision.

"The evidence presented to the ITC was clear -- the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers," said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber's co-chairman in a statement.

"Now, with a level playing field, the U.S. lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly," Brochu said: http://bit.ly/2k7pI5U.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages

Conference committee could still destroy tax reform

Demystifying the gimmicks of growth in this tax reform bill

GOP leaders need to get serious about our massive debt problem

Communities of color deserve better than the GOP's tax reform

 

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