Overnight Finance: Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting | Lawmakers stunned by Trump push to help Chinese company | Ryan, GOP scramble to win support for controversial farm bill

Overnight Finance: Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting | Lawmakers stunned by Trump push to help Chinese company | Ryan, GOP scramble to win support for controversial farm bill
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Happy Monday and welcome back to Overnight Financeleak-free since 2015. 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: The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law that banned sports betting in almost every state, a precedent-shattering decision that opens the door to legalized sports gambling nationwide.

New Jersey has been fighting since 2010 to make sports wagering legal at racetracks and casinos in the state, but had repeatedly been blocked by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992.


The court ruled 6-3 that PASPA's provisions prohibiting states from authorizing and licensing a sports gambling scheme violate the anti-commandeering rule.

In delivering the opinion of the court, Justice Samuel Alito said legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not the court's to make.

"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not," he said.

"PASPA 'regulates state governments' regulation' of their citizens. The Constitution gives Congress no such power."

The Hill's Lydia Wheeler breaks down the verdict here.


CNBC: "Shares of MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming and Churchill Downs all popped on the decision, although they were well off their highs immediately following the case result."


Hatch to introduce sports betting bill after Supreme Court decision: GOP Sen. 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 (Utah) said on Monday that he will introduce new sports gambling legislation after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned the betting in almost every state. 

"At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That's why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena," Hatch said in a statement. 

Hatch, who is retiring after this Congress, was one of the four original authors of PASPA. He added on Monday that "problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago," when PASPA was originally passed.


On tap tomorrow

  • The Brookings Institution hosts an event on building "inclusive" infrastructure, 8 a.m.
  • Senate Banking Committee: Confirmation hearing for Richard Clarida, nominated to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; and Michelle Bowman, nominated to be a governor on the Federal Reserve Board, 10 a.m.



Lawmakers stunned by Trump push to help Chinese company: President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE's abrupt decision to offer a potential lifeline to Chinese phone-maker ZTE is sending shockwaves through Washington, sparking criticism from lawmakers who have pushed for tighter restrictions on Chinese telecommunications companies.

Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats on Sunday when he tweeted that he had ordered federal officials to get Chinese phone-maker ZTE "back into business, fast" after the company shuttered its operations due to U.S. penalties.

"Too many jobs in China lost," Trump wrote.

The sentiment was a far cry from the hard line the president has drawn on China since the start of his administration, with his officials accusing Beijing of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft. The Hill's Morgan Chalfant and Ali Breland tell us more here.


Trump digs in: Trump on Monday defended his comments supporting Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, saying it is part of ongoing trade negotiations with China and "my personal relationship with President Xi."

"ZTE, the largest Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi," Trump tweeted.


Ryan, GOP scramble to win support for controversial farm bill: Republican leaders are scrambling to lock down enough votes for the GOP farm bill, with members still divided over the measure's sugar support program and work requirements for food stamps.

The legislation, a top priority for retiring Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Trump doubles down on Neil Cavuto attacks: 'Will he get the same treatment as' Shep Smith? Trump lashes out at Fox News coverage: 'I won every one of my debates' MORE (R-Wis.) because it contains elements of welfare reform, is scheduled to hit the floor this week.

But House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLive coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Laughter erupts at hearing after Democrat fires back: Trump 'has 5 Pinocchios on a daily basis' Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE said Republicans are shy of the 218 votes needed to pass the bill. Still, the Texas Republican expressed confidence that he can flip enough members by working the phones over the weekend, clearing up any questions and concerns and pointing out that some amendments will get a floor vote.

"We believe we'll get there. We've got several folks that are still reading the bill and coming to their own conclusions. We've got a lot of undecideds," Conaway said Thursday. The Hill's Melanie Zanona explains here. 

Why it matters: The five-year farm bill authorizes a number of farm, agricultural and food programs that are set to expire at the end of September.

But the bulk of the measure's funding -- and one of the areas that has been a lightning rod in the debate -- goes toward SNAP, also known as food stamps.

The new fight: This year's farm bill would impose tougher work requirements on millions of food stamp recipients and shift the program's funding toward job training -- a change that Ryan and the GOP say will help lift people out of poverty.

Under the measure, all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 59 have to be working or enrolled in a training program for at least 20 hours per week to qualify for food stamps. People who are elderly, disabled or pregnant would be exempt from the requirements.

But the contentious idea has sparked a bitter intraparty fight in the House. Moderate Republicans worry that the new requirements are too tough and will prevent 1 million people from getting food assistance.


CBO: Rescissions would only save $1B in spending: The Trump administration's proposal to reduce spending by clawing back budget authority over $15.4 billion in funding would only reduce actual spending by $1 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The administration asked Congress last week to cancel budget authority from a variety of defunct accounts and unobligated funds through a special budgeting provision called a rescission. The House introduced a substantively identical bill to carry the request forward.

But because most of the funds in question were not expected to be spent anyway, passing the rescissions package would only reduce federal spending by $1 billion over a decade, the CBO analysis released Friday found. The White House had estimated that the package would reduce outlays by three times that amount. The Hill's Niv Elis breaks it down here.


MARKET CHECK: Dow posts eight-day winning streak. From CNBC: "The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.24 points to 24,899.41, with UnitedHealth and Walmart as the best-performing stocks in the index. The 30-stock index also extended its winning streak to eight straight days. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent to close at 2,730.13, with energy, health care and materials outperforming. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.1 percent and finished at 7,411.32."



  • Some of the GOP's biggest and most reliable donors have quietly withheld their support for Senate and House Republican groups out of frustration with the new tax law, according to CNN.
  • According to a survey from Prudential Financial, 34 percent of American workers say they decreased their contributions to their retirement plans in the past year because of their financial situation. Read more here.
  • The Heritage Foundation released a new paper on Monday arguing that making temporary provisions of the new tax law permanent would boost the economy.
  • A group of Senate Democrats is demanding answers from AT&T and Novartis after it was revealed the two companies paid large sums of money to President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
  • Wall Street strategists are warning of mounting bearish conditions for the U.S. dollar, according to Bloomberg.


  • One of the largest contributions to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee in 2016 appears to have been orchestrated by a set of powerful conservative legal activists who have since been put in the driver's seat of the administration's push to select and nominate federal judges, according to McClatchy.