Overnight Finance: Latest as shutdown looms | House Freedom Caucus may have deal with GOP leaders | Senate Dems look to force McConnell to negotiate | Whip list - Tight vote in Senate | Trump baffles GOP with tweet

Overnight Finance: Latest as shutdown looms | House Freedom Caucus may have deal with GOP leaders | Senate Dems look to force McConnell to negotiate | Whip list - Tight vote in Senate | Trump baffles GOP with tweet
© Greg Nash

Live coverage: House, Senate in scramble as shutdown looms: A shutdown of the federal government is looming with opposition in the House and Senate to a GOP bill that would keep the government open for another month. 

Without action by Congress, the government will shut down on Saturday. We'll bring you every update you could possibly need right here: http://bit.ly/2EUSDTB.



The latest: The House Freedom Caucus and GOP leaders appear to have reached a tentative deal to lock down the conservative group's support for the continuing resolution, putting the House on track to pass a stopgap bill on Thursday.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks On The Money: Administration defends Trump executive orders | CBO reports skyrocketing deficit | Government pauses Kodak loan pending review MORE (R-Wis.) emerged from a meeting in Speaker Ryan's office saying that leadership promised to have separate votes to help improve military readiness and address other national security issues. They would not be attached to the CR, he added.

Meadows is urging the rest of the caucus to accept the offer. The group is now meeting in Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWorld's most trafficked mammal gives Trump new way to hit China on COVID-19 The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Tucker Carlson calls Fauci a 'fraud' after tense hearing MORE's (R-Ohio) office.


Trump baffles GOP with tweet scrambling shutdown talks: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE undermined his own party's plan to avert a looming government shutdown on Thursday after tweeting that a key Democratic bargaining chip shouldn't be attached to the funding package.

The 17-word tweet threw Capitol Hill into a state of confusion ahead of what is already expected to be a tight vote in the House on Thursday night. Republicans on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue were trying to decipher what exactly the president meant by declaring that a popular children's health-care program should be part of a "long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension."

The strategy Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey MORE (R-Wis.) and his leadership team are pursuing would attach a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to a stopgap government funding measure as a way to sweeten the pot for wary Democrats in both the House and Senate.


But Democrats have been cool to the proposal, arguing Republicans have shut them out of talks and voicing frustration that the bill does not deal with young immigrants known as "Dreamers" who face deportation beginning as early as March because of Trump's decision to end an Obama-era program sheltering them. The Hill's Scott Wong and Melanie Zanona report: http://bit.ly/2ESs0yg.


Across the Capitol... Senate Dems say they have votes to block spending bill as shutdown edges closer: Senate Democrats say they have secured the votes to block a House plan to fund the government through mid-February. 

A Democratic aide confirmed that the caucus will be able to block Republicans from getting the 60 votes needed to overcome an initial procedural hurdle. 

"Yes. And with the Republicans it's not close," the staffer told The Hill, asked whether Democrats will be able to block the legislation. 

Three Republicans -- Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (Ky.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (S.C.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire Trump goes viral after mispronouncing Yosemite MORE (S.D.) -- have also said they will oppose the House plan, bringing the total opponents to 41. 

According to The Hill's whip list, 38 Democratic senators are prepared to vote "no" on the GOP bill in addition to the three Republicans. Here's more from The Hill's Jordain Carney: http://bit.ly/2ERLwLx.


Senators float days-long funding bill: A group of senators is floating a days-long government funding bill as a longer House plan faces growing pushback in the Senate.

"I just want to make sure that people ... who want to make sure we don't have a shutdown and people who want to resolve differences know that there is an option to doing something different than a month-long [continuing resolution]," Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranTrump tests GOP loyalty with election tweet and stimulus strategy VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage As ADA anniversary nears, lawmakers express concern about changes to captioned telephone service MORE (R-Kan.) told reporters on Thursday.

Moran suggested that senators could pass stopgap bills that last only one or two days. He added that he spoke about the idea during Wednesday's closed-door Republican policy lunch. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that he supports Moran's idea, arguing negotiators could get a deal on immigration and defense spending in days if they wanted to.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) also said he prefers a days-long stopgap measure.

Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineHillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (D-Va.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election US intelligence says Russia seeking to 'denigrate' Biden GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe MORE (D-Va.) earlier Thursday also pitched a days-long stopgap bill to give negotiators more time when they announced their opposition to the House's bill, which funds the government through mid-February: http://bit.ly/2EWbYn1.


WHIP LIST: Keep track of where each senator stands on how to fund the government: http://bit.ly/2ES2U2Q.


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.


Mulvaney asks Fed to withhold additional consumer bureau funding: The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked the Federal Reserve on Wednesday to withhold additional funding from the agency for the second quarter of fiscal 2018.


Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE requested $0 from the Fed to fund bureau operations for three months in a letter to Fed chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenPandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs On The Money: McConnell previews GOP coronavirus bill | Senate panel advances Trump Fed nominee who recently supported gold standard | Economists warn about scaled-back unemployment benefits Senate panel advances Trump Fed nominee who recently supported gold standard MORE. While Mulvaney said the CFPB's expects to spend $145 million in the next quarter, he intends to fund it through the bureau's $177 million emergency reserve account with the Fed's New York branch.

"I have been assured that the funds in the currently in the Bureau Fund are sufficient for the Bureau to carry out its statutory mandates for the next fiscal quarter while striving to be efficient, effective and accountable," Mulvaney wrote.

Mulvaney's empty request is his latest effort to reshape and reign in the CFPB. The agency announced Wednesday that it would allow companies subject to its new payday lending rule to apply for a delay in complying with its first deadline. And Mulvaney announced Thursday that the CFPB would solicit complaints about its practices as he looks to loosen its hold on the financial services industry. I explain here: http://bit.ly/2ETZbBC.


New CFPB director puts target on payday loan rules: The new leaders of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are taking the most significant step yet toward unwinding rules panned by the finance industry and the GOP.

The CFPB announced this week that it would delay compliance with new regulatory rules for short-term, high-interest loans, commonly known as payday loans. The agency said it is considering how to roll back those rules.

The reassessment is part of acting Director Mick Mulvaney's broader push to rescind the bureau's most aggressive regulations and refocus the agency's work on promoting consumer freedom. I've got more here: http://bit.ly/2ERRCLV.



Jobless claims fall to nearly 45-year low: First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to a nearly 45-year low last week as the labor market shows further signs of tightening this year.

Claims plummeted to 220,000, a decrease of 41,000 from the previous week's 261,000, the lowest level since Feb. 24, 1973, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The latest figures, which were likely lower because of holiday hiring and winter weather, show that employers are holding on to their workers as the pool of skilled people shrinks.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book released Wednesday said that most areas "cited on-going labor market tightness and challenges finding qualified workers across skills and sectors, which, in some instances, was described as constraining growth."

Several regions reported greater demand for manufacturing and construction labor, the report said. The Hill's Vicki Needham breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2DrqHJD.


Chamber makes case for gas tax increase to fund infrastructure: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday made its case for increasing the gas tax as it unveiled a plan to rebuild America's roads, bridges and trains.

Chamber President Tom Donohue called for a 25-cent increase to the gas tax over the course of five years, but said his group would also support a proposal that increased the tax all at once.

"Five cents [per year] over five years, but if we can get it all in the beginning, we'd take it. It's simpler; you do it once," Donohue told reporters. "You begin to accrue and build up a sock of money which you're going to need for these projects."

The Chamber has long supported an increase to the fuel tax, but is renewing its push as Republicans and the White House work on the outlines of an infrastructure package: http://bit.ly/2Dt1U88.


Beijing: Trump admin lacks 'objectivity' in dealing with Chinese businesses: China questioned on Thursday the "objectivity and credibility" of an assessment by the U.S. Trade Representative listing several Chinese companies as "notorious markets."

The Associated Press reported that Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry, said the decision to target three Chinese online commerce platforms and six physical bazaars was unfounded.

"We have to question the objectivity and credibility of the relevant U.S. department in issuing its report," Gao said, according to the AP. "The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection of intellectual property, the results of which are obvious to all."

The criticism came after the U.S. Trade Representative issued its Notorious Markets list, in which the office accused the companies of harming U.S. businesses and copyright holders: http://bit.ly/2DujOHG.


Major battle over new tax law expected in Ohio Senate race: The new tax law could play a major role in the Ohio Senate race, with the contests potentially shaping up to be a showdown between two congressional tax-writers.

Incumbent Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownWhat Trump's orders will and won't do for payroll taxes, unemployment benefits Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D), who for years has fashioned himself as a populist fighter for the working class, is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and vocally opposed the GOP tax measure signed into law by President Trump last month.

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciOhio is suddenly a 2020 battleground Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Medicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise MORE (R), who switched from the Ohio governor's race to the Senate race last week and may face a difficult primary, is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who was involved in developing and championing the legislation.
Both candidates believe the new tax law will be to their advantage in the race.

"I think that my state overwhelmingly understands this tax bill is all about helping the richest 1 percent at the expense of everybody else," Brown told reporters last week.

Renacci argued that the new law helps the economy and working families.

"Middle-class Americans are starting to see the benefit of it," he said. "I think what Sherrod Brown did is vote against middle-class Americans." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda breaks it down: http://bit.ly/2DukpZW.