Overnight Finance: US economic growth slows in first quarter | Deadline for Trump tariff exemption nears | Scalise offers anti-carbon tax resolution | Banking regulator to retire

Overnight Finance: US economic growth slows in first quarter | Deadline for Trump tariff exemption nears | Scalise offers anti-carbon tax resolution | Banking regulator to retire
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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: U.S. economic growth slowed to 2.3 percent of GDP in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a lower rate than the fourth quarter of 2017 but higher than initial projections.

The 2.3-percent growth rate is 0.6 percent below the previous three-month period. First quarter growth typically lags as consumers cut spending following the holiday season and as winter weather freezes key economic drivers.


Analyst's projections for first-quarter growth ranged between 1.8 and 2 percent.

First quarter growth rates are usually revised upward, sometimes close to a full percentage point. BEA said that Friday's report is "based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency," and it will issue its revised estimate on May 30.

BEA attributed the higher than expected numbers to increases in business and inventory investment, consumer spending, and exports -- all critical forces behind economic growth.

Brian Coulton, chief economist at Fitch Ratings, said while consumer spending was lower than expected, "the really impressive thing continues be business investment."

"With consumption growth likely to bounce back and fiscal stimulus about to kick-in big-time, there are probably more upside than downside risks to our latest forecast for 2018 growth of 2.7 percent," Coulton said. I've got more on the numbers here.



US taxes on wages, employers were near average before GOP tax law, OECD finds

American workers pay an average amount of taxes when compared to other advanced economies, as do their employers, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The study was based on data from 2017, before the new Republican tax law went into effect.

On income tax alone, a married American family with two children making an average salary paid 6.5 percent of their wages to tax, below the 10.2 percent average for the OECD, a club of 35 advanced economies.

A single American making an average salary paid 18.4 percent of their wages to the government, slightly above the 15.7 percent OECD average, and well below the high of 36.1 percent paid in Denmark.

But the study also examined how labor costs fall on employers. In the U.S., employers had to pay out 7.7 percent of wages for employees making an average wage, compared to 9.8 percent in the OECD. The Hill's Niv Elis explains here.


Scalise offers anti-carbon tax resolution: House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Texas man with politician hit list, illegally 3D printed rifle sentenced to eight years The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE (R-La.) has reintroduced a resolution condemning a carbon tax, arguing that such a levy would be harmful to the economy.

The nonbinding resolution, offered by Scalise and Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyRepresenting patients’ voices Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias at hearing MORE (R-W.Va.) on Thursday, would state that it's Congress's opinion that "a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States."

The House previously approved a version of the resolution in 2016, with six Democrats supporting it and no Republicans opposing it.

Carbon taxes have been supported by some liberals, such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders endorses Oakland teachers strike Dem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 News media has sought to 'delegitimize' Tulsi Gabbard, says liberal journalist MORE (I-Vt.), as well as by some Republicans, such as James Baker, a former chief of staff to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Supporters of the idea say it would be a market-based solution to help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate change. It could also raise revenue used to reduce the deficit or cut other taxes.

But opponents argue that it would raise prices on gasoline and consumer goods and hurt U.S. economic competitiveness. Here's more from The Hill's Naomi Jagoda.


FDIC vice chairman Hoenig announces retirement: Thomas Hoeing, the vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), announced Friday that he will step down from the board of the bank watchdog effective Monday.

Hoeing, the former president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, will retire after completing a six-year term on the FDIC board. He joined the FDIC in April 2012 after 20 years leading the Fed's Kansas City reserve bank, where he started as an economist in 1973.

Hoenig said "it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the public and be a part of the FDIC and its mission during these past six years."

FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg thanked Hoenig for his "extraordinary career of public service at both the FDIC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City."

"Tom has been a forceful advocate for strong, independent financial regulation and has contributed enormously to the mission of the FDIC during his time as Vice Chairman. The FDIC was fortunate to benefit from his service," Gruenberg said.


Why it matters: Hoenig's departure will leave just three members on the FDIC board: Gruenberg, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting and acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Trump, Dems open drug price talks | FDA warns against infusing young people's blood | Facebook under scrutiny over health data | Harris says Medicare for all isn't socialism White House spokeswoman leaving to join PR firm Trump’s state of emergency declaration imperils defense budget MORE.

The FDIC supervises, imposes regulations and insures deposits at U.S banks. Its leadership will play a critical role in federal efforts to loosen Dodd-Frank Act rules meant to ensure the safety and soundness of banks.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE has nominated Jelena McWilliams, executive vice president and chief legal officer of Fifth Third Bank, to replace Gruenberg, whose term expired in November. Gruenberg has stayed on as the Senate struggles to confirm a slate of Trump's financial regulatory nominees.

McWilliams's nomination was cleared by the Senate Banking Committee in February and is pending Senate confirmation. Trump has not nominated a replacement for Hoenig or for the vacant FDIC director position. The comptroller of the currency and CFPB director are FDIC board members by law.




  • The House and Senate begin a weeklong recess, returning to the Capitol on May 7.
  • The Heritage Foundation hosts an event entitled "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It," featuring former Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder, 12 p.m.


  • Deadline for President Trump to grant exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs.



  • The Brookings Institution hosts an event on the future of trade in U.S.-Japan relations, 10 a.m.
  • The Heritage Foundation hosts an event entitled "Deconstructing the Administrative State: How Corporations and Big Government Collaborate," 11 a.m.



  • The American Enterprise Institute hosts an event entitled: "The 2018 Farm Bill: The future of farm subsidy programs and US agriculture sector productivity," 11 a.m.



  • The Brookings Institution hosts an event on advancing opportunity for black collegians in tech and business, 9 a.m.




  • May 1 is the deadline for Trump to grant further exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs he announced in March. U.S. allies and trading partners have been lobbying for relief from the tariffs, which could be met with severe retaliation. With most of the Trump administration trade team focused on the upcoming meeting in Beijing and another round of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, its possible we see Trump delay the deadline for the time being.



  • The world economy has been stuck with low inflation and low interest rates. Yet the latest shifts in global markets suggest that this could be ending, according to the New York Times.
  • Long-term U.S. mortgage rates continued to climb this week, reaching their highest level in more than four years and denting prospective home purchasers' prospects amid the spring buying season, according to the AP.
  • White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney met with the House Appropriations Committee chairman on Friday to discuss a White House proposal to claw back some of the federal spending increases that Congress passed last month.



  • February's sell-off saw investors yank the most money from US stocks in a decade, according to CNBC.