Overnight Finance: Congress races to finish $1.2T funding bill | What to look for in omnibus | AT&T merger trial kicks off | Stocks fall on tech troubles | Trump targets Venezuelan cryptocurrency | Record SEC whistleblower payout

Overnight Finance: Congress races to finish $1.2T funding bill | What to look for in omnibus | AT&T merger trial kicks off | Stocks fall on tech troubles | Trump targets Venezuelan cryptocurrency | Record SEC whistleblower payout
© Greg Nash

Happy Monday and welcome back to Overnight Finance, where we also accepted an offer to run the CIA. 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.


THE BIG DEAL: Congress is close to unveiling a $1.2 trillion government funding package that would provide the biggest boosts to federal spending in years.

But some conservatives have balked at the price tag of the omnibus, and members from both parties are worried that leaders will attach controversial "poison pill" riders to the bill at the last minute.

Appropriators are aiming to wrap up the funding package in time for vote on Friday, when government funding expires at midnight. The Hill's Melanie Zanona breaks down what lawmakers need to do to avoid another government shutdown:


"Lawmakers have been eager to unlock the major spending boosts that were provided by last month's budget deal and break the cycle of temporary patches that have kept funding levels frozen since September.

"The sweeping, two-year budget deal that Congress passed in February increases defense spending by $80 billion and nondefense spending by $63 billion for fiscal 2018.

"But they aren't out of the woods just yet." Melanie explains why here.


DACA deal elusive: The White House and congressional Democrats are struggling to break a stalemate on immigration, with both sides rejecting competing proposals over the weekend.

The Trump administration pitched a deal to include $25 billion in border wall funding and a two-and-a-half-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a mammoth government funding bill, but Democrats rejected the offer, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The source added that Democrats countered by offering $25 billion in border wall funding in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the larger "Dreamers" population, roughly 1.8 million, a move that has been supported by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE, but the White House said no.

The Hill's Jordain Carney tells us more about the impasse holding up the funding bill.


ObamaCare deadlock: Lawmakers are also struggling to get a deal to stabilize ObamaCre markets because of a dispute over abortion, The Hill's Peter Sullivan reports.

Republicans are insisting that the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funds from being used to pay for abortion, be applied to the new ObamaCare funds, which are aimed at lowering premiums. Democrats say this would expand the Hyde Amendment and have rejected the language.

Sources in both parties say it will be tough to overcome the differences on abortion this week.

Peter has more on the health care stalemate.


Thread: Tax provisions to watch for in the omnibus: The Hill's ace tax reporter Naomi Jagoda threw together a Twitter thread of the different tax-related riders that could end up in the government funding package.

Lawmakers are eyeing several fixes to drafting errors in the massive tax-cut law Congress passed last year, and could boost IRS funding to help the agency implement the new code. Congress is also squabbling over a provision on online sales tax.

Here's the whole thread, with links to helpful articles along the way.


On tap tomorrow



AT&T fights the feds over merger: The government and AT&T squared off in court Monday to decide the fate of a massive media merger in a trial that will have far-reaching effects on the market and regulators.

Monday marked the opening of the trial over the Justice Department's (DOJ) lawsuit to block AT&T's $85 billion proposed merger with Time Warner.

The case has been embroiled in controversy over whether President Trump had any influence in the decision to block the merger as retaliation against CNN. Trump has long accused the Time Warner-owned network of biased coverage.

The DOJ and White House have denied any political interference. The Hill's Harper Neidig walks us through the case and what to expect.


Trump bans trade in Venezuela's cryptocurrency: President Trump on Monday imposed new sanctions against the Venezuelan government, banning U.S. citizens from dealing in the South American country's newly minted cryptocurrency.

An executive order bans "all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in" any digital currency issued by or for the Venezuelan government.

The sanctions targeting the petro -- the digital currency announced by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in December -- have been in the works for weeks. The Hill's Rafael Bernal tells us more about it.


Kushner Cos. filed false NYC housing paperwork: From the AP: "When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit.

"But that's exactly what the company then run by Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerCareer State official warned about Biden's son: report Buttigieg knocks Trump as a 'walking conflict of interest' Biden's weak response to Trump is a lesson for Democratic candidates MORE did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid."


MARKET CHECK: Bloody. U.S stocks took steep losses across the board, with tech shares putting the most drag on the market. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 1.3 percent lower Monday, while the Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 1.4 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq took the biggest hit, ending Monday with a 1.8 percent drop. Facebook shares took a nosedive, deepening the tech index's losses.


Facebook faceplants: Facebook's stock fell sharply as the social media company takes fire for the use of its data by the outside firm Cambridge Analytica, which obtained private information for about 50 million Facebook users.

Cambridge Analytica then used the data to try to help President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, according to an investigative report published Saturday by The New York Times. 

Shares in Facebook fell as much as 7.5 percent Monday to $170, far outpacing losses taken by U.S stocks across the board.

Now, Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergOn The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out Facebook to label content from state-run media MORE is facing calls to testify before Congress as renewed scrutiny falls on the tech giant's privacy practices, our Harper Neidig reports:

"Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Robert Reich sees Democratic race as Warren, Sanders and Biden: 'Everyone else is irrelevant' Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota MORE (D-Minn.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Monday requested that the Senate Judiciary Committee call major tech CEOs to testify about how internet platforms oversee the use of consumer data for political advertising.

"While the request included several tech firms, it was clearly triggered by the report about Facebook data being used by Cambridge Analytica.

"'The lack of oversight on how data is stored and how political advertisements are sold raises concerns about the integrity of American elections as well as privacy rights,' the senators wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (R-Iowa)." Harper has more here.


Meanwhile, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica was filmed saying that his firm used bribes and sex workers to trap politicians in compromising situations, an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News in London reported Monday.


Fine China: Republican lawmakers who broadly shunned President Trump's wide-ranging steel and aluminum tariffs are expressing more optimism about a potential new round of trade actions that specifically target China.

While some are urging caution out of fears of sparking a trade war with Beijing, others are signaling confidence in such an approach, characterizing China as the justified target of any punitive trade measures.

"Obviously there's a huge difference," said Rep. Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceDemocrats struggle with repeal of key Trump tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Trump struggles to replicate 2016 coalition Nonagenarian D-Day veterans recreate parachute drops over Normandy MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade. The Hill's Niv Elis and Vicki Neeham tell us why.


...On the other hand, retailers are widely opposed to tariffs on goods from China, a major exporter to the U.S., arguing it will increase prices for vulnerable consumers.

Business and trade groups wrote two separate letters to Trump urging him to avoid applying what could amount to $30 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports because they will drive up prices for U.S. consumers, hurt their businesses and hamper economic growth.



  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Monday he doesn't have any issue saying that China is "cheating" on its currency, even as the Trump administration avoids making such claims.
  • power struggle between House Republicans and Senate Democrats could kill what's seen as the last chance Congress has to revise the strict banking rules enacted by former President Obama.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued the largest rewards for whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act, setting a new record at more than $33 million.
  • Another leading business group on Monday launched a television advertising campaign opposing President Trump's plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
  • Republicans are increasingly talking about "phase two" of tax cuts in an effort to highlight their signature legislative accomplishment and force Democrats to take tough votes.
  • Tariffs on China's information and communications technology imports would lead to billions in losses for the U.S. economy, a new report released on Friday shows.



  • Democrats on Congress's Joint Economic Committee launched interactive maps on Monday as part of the party's efforts to make the election-year case against the tax law President Trump signed in December.
  • Whole Foods will host a summit beginning Tuesday for up to 200 of its suppliers in its hometown of Austin, Texas, amid anxiety and speculation about how its ongoing business revamp will play out under new owner Amazon.com, according to Reuters.