Overnight Finance: McConnell open to amendment pushing back on Trump tariffs | What to know about phase two of Trump's tax cuts | White House revises spending 'claw back' proposal

Overnight Finance: McConnell open to amendment pushing back on Trump tariffs | What to know about phase two of Trump's tax cuts | White House revises spending 'claw back' proposal
© Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Overnight Finance, the newsletter that could pardon itself if it wanted to.  I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act House Dem cites transgender grandson in voting for Equality Act MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not bring up a freestanding bill to push back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey: Barr is 'sliming his own department' GOP Mueller critic says Flynn contacted him during special counsel probe: report Acting DHS secretary threatened to quit after clashing with Miller: report MORE's trade agenda, but that GOP senators might be able to add it as an amendment to other legislation.

Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' Pollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge MORE (R-Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight 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 Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns.

GOP senators say McConnell doesn't want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump's trade agenda has run amuck.

"What I'm in favor of is getting bills passed that we have to do for the country. NDAA is certainly one of them but it is open to amendment and we'll see what happens as it moves across the floor," he said, referring to the National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress passes every year and is considered a must-pass bill.

He noted that the Senate also has to pass the farm bill -- a package of agriculture subsidies -- as well as appropriations bills.

My colleague Alexander Bolton has more here.


What to take away from McConnell's remarks: McConnell has laid down a marker suggesting he wouldn't block some sort of rebuke to Trump's trade policies from reaching the president's desk. That's far from an endorsement or easy pathway to passage, but McConnell is often unequivocal about certain controversial issues.


Now... How it might happen: Senators are planning to introduce legislation as soon as Tuesday to require President Trump to get congressional approval for tariffs implemented for national security purposes. 

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is spearheading the legislation, told reporters that he will roll out the bill as early as Tuesday and wants to try to get it attached to a defense policy bill that the Senate will start work on later this week.

"If a president decided he was going to invoke 232 and declare something a national security threat he would still go through all the processes he goes through now but, in the end, Congress will have to approve it," Corker said.

Under the bill, Corker said, a vote on approving tariffs invoked under Section 232 of the trade law could be expedited through Congress. The bill, if signed into law, would also be retroactive going back two years. 

Corker, who is retiring at the end of his term, declined to say who is backing his bill, which he noted could slip to Wednesday morning, but said he had support from senators on both sides of the aisle.

Corker said that he is hoping to add his bill to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense policy bill that the Senate is expected to start work on as soon as Wednesday. 

Here's more from The Hill's Jordain Carney.


What comes next: Asked if he had McConnell's support, Corker smirked before adding: "I think the majority leader, my guess is, would be very receptive from a policy standpoint. Might be concerned from other standpoints."

Any legislation would likely ultimately need support from two-thirds of both chambers, enough to overcome a presidential veto.

Corker acknowledged that the White House would likely not be enthusiastic about the bill, but said Congress is "a separate but equal branch."





CEO confidence drops in second quarter: Economic confidence for the nation's top CEOs fell in the second quarter for the first time in nearly two years over increasing concerns about the Trump administration's direction on U.S. trade policy.

The Business Roundtable's (BRT) April to June economic outlook survey released on Tuesday dropped to 111.1, declining 7.5 points from 118.6 in the first quarter, which was a record high hit as Congress and President Trump adopted a Republican tax package.

"We continue to see strong CEO plans in the second quarter of 2018, but uncertainties about trade policy are a growing weight on economic progress, especially amid escalating trade tensions," said Joshua Bolten, BRT's president and CEO.

The Hill's Vicki Needham tells us why here. 


Mexico to hit US with tariffs on pork: Mexico will slap a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork imports in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum from key U.S. allies.

"Earlier today, President Enrique Peña Nieto released a Decree in response to the United States' 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. The United States' decision to impose these duties contradicts the international community framework on tariffs and international trade and therefore subjects them to Chapter VIII: NAFTA Emergency Measures, which allows for Mexico's Decree," Mexico's government said in a statement. 

"The Decree suspends the preferential tariff treatment between the United States and Mexico, allowing the latter to implement duties on a variety of products such as pork meat, some types of cheese, apples, cranberries, whiskey, steel, motor boats, among others," it said.

McWilliams sworn in as FDIC chairman: Jelena McWilliams, a former bank executive and Senate staffer, was sworn in Tuesday as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the agency announced.

McWilliams was the executive vice president and chief legal officer of Fifth Third Bank when President Trump nominated her in November. She was recommended in February by the Senate Banking Committee, where she had served as an aide, and confirmed by the full Senate last week.

Her confirmation puts a Trump-appointed official in charge of every federal bank regulator amid the agencies' push to rewrite Dodd-Frank Act regulations. I've got more on why that's important here.


FINANCE IN FOCUS: The White House and some prominent GOP lawmakers want to roll out a second package of tax cuts this summer, building from the tax law President Trump signed last year.

Republicans are interested in pushing for changes to the tax code they were unable to achieve in their 2017 measure, though a new tax bill is unlikely to become law this year. They say they want to make improvements to the tax code on an ongoing basis.

Some Republicans think a vote on more tax cuts would be good for them politically, forcing Democrats to go on the record in an election year. But a vote on another tax bill also has the potential to backfire on Republicans if a few vulnerable Democrats back it.

Here are five things to know about "phase two" of tax cuts from my colleague Naomi Jagoda.



  • ZTE has reportedly reached an agreement in principle with the Trump administration to lift the Department of Commerce's ban on American companies selling equipment to the Chinese telecommunications giant.
  • The White House on Tuesday sent a revised, reduced proposal to claw back federal spending to Capitol Hill, eliminating some $896 million from its original request.
  • The first group of spending bills for the 2019 fiscal year is expected to receive a vote on the House floor sometime this week as part of a consolidated piece of legislation.
    Wells Fargo announced Tuesday that it will sell 52 retail branches in the midwest to Flagstar Bank, ending its physical presence in three states.
    A misplaced word in the new tax law could hurt victims of sexual harassment by preventing them from being able to deduct legal expenses, Bloomberg reports.
  • A Medicare Trustees report released Tuesday finds that Medicare's trust fund will be depleted in 2026, three years earlier than last year's report found. 
    A group of more than 100 retailers, restaurants and trade groups are urging Congress to take "quick action" on making two technical corrections to the tax law that President Trump signed last year.
  • Op-ed: C. Donald Johnson.  former U.S. ambassador at the Office of USTR, writes for The Hill on why Trump's latest actions effectively declared a global trade war.
  • Shahira Knight, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council (NEC), will be joining a trade association that is being created by the merger of two major financial industry groups: The Clearing House Association and Financial Services Roundtable.
  • U.S. PIRG Education Fund reviewed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's public complaint database to reveal and rank the debt collectors by the most complaints.
  • Republicans and Democrats are looking at the same set of economic facts and suddenly seeing very different things, according to The Atlantic.
  • There are now more job openings than unemployed workers in the U.S.