On The Money: Trump backs off investment restrictions on China | McConnell opens door to tariff legislation | Supreme Court deals blow to public-sector unions, ruling against 'fair-share' fees

On The Money: Trump backs off investment restrictions on China | McConnell opens door to tariff legislation | Supreme Court deals blow to public-sector unions, ruling against 'fair-share' fees
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Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, which will not rule out accepting an appointment to the Supreme Court. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL: President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE on Wednesday declined to impose executive actions to limit investments in American technology from foreign countries such as China, instead deferring to Congress to update the review process. 

The announcement followed reports earlier in the week that the administration was preparing rules to block China, in particular, from making significant investments in sensitive U.S. technologies. 

The stock market tumbled following the reports and administration officials rushed to deny that the actions would target China specifically.

In particular, Trump put his backing behind the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), legislation that the administration had already signaled it supports.

"After reviewing the current versions of FIRRMA with my team of advisors -- and after discussing them with many Members of Congress -- I have concluded that such legislation will provide additional tools to combat the predatory investment practices that threaten our critical technology leadership, national security, and future economic prosperity," Trump said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

The Hill's Niv Elis explains it all here.

 

What it means: Trump's decision not to impose investment restrictions beyond the CFIUS process can be seen as goodwill gesture as trade tensions between the countries increase. The Trump administration also needs China to keep pressure on North Korea to eliminate their nuclear and missile programs, which make the trade talks that much more complicated.

Read more: Markets surge after Trump backs off new restrictions on foreign investments

 

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • Senate Banking Committee: Hearing on legislative proposals to examine corporate governance, 10 a.m.
  • Senate Finance Committee: Hearing on the nomination of Charles Rettig to serve as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, 10 a.m.

 

LEADING THE DAY

McConnell opens door to tariff legislation: Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Trump again vetoes resolution blocking national emergency for border wall Trump invites congressional leaders to meeting on Turkey MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday appeared to open the door to the Senate taking up tariff legislation, noting there is "concern" among fellow GOP senators over President Trump's trade policies.

"There is concern in the conference. ... We've all, you know, discussed this with the president a lot. And there may be a legislative solution to it, and Orrin is working on that and I'll take a look at it," McConnell said during a Politico Playbook event, referring to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese Trump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE (R-Utah). 

McConnell added that the panel is "going to take a look at that whole area, which is a matter of some concern to my members."

Hatch told The Hill on Tuesday that he would move legislation in the Finance Committee tied to tariffs implemented under the national security provisions of the trade law, known as Section 232. But he stressed that the details of the bill were still being worked out.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong 10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP braces for impeachment brawl MORE (R-Ohio), a member of the panel, wants a hearing and a vote on legislation to tighten Section 232.

The Hill's Jordain Carney tells us more about what that means here.

There is growing unease among congressional Republicans over the Trump administration's tariff policies, which are prompting retaliatory actions from key trading partners. This week's decision by Harley-Davidson to move some manufacturing overseas to avoid European tariffs has renewed the fight between GOP lawmakers and Trump.

The Hill's Alexander Bolton explains why here.

 

Meanwhile, Trump got some backup today from one of the few senators who has supported his trade agenda.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump administration blocked consumer watchdog from public service loan forgiveness program: report Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Sherrod Brown: 'Terrible mistake' for Democratic nominee to support 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Ohio), a leading liberal voice on trade issues and a potential presidential candidate in 2020, objected on Wednesday to a vote on an amendment that would have taken away much of President Trump's power to impose new tariffs.

Brown, who is up for reelection this fall in a major steel-producing state, slammed an amendment backed by GOP Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight 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 MORE (Pa.) that would require congressional approval on tariffs that the president imposes based on national security concerns.

Brown's objection spares Republicans from a showdown with Trump over trade, which Senate GOP leaders wanted to avoid. The amendment would empower Congress to unwind the tariffs Trump has imposed on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Alex Bolton has more about the showdown on the Senate floor here.

 

Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics Cindy McCain condemns video of fake Trump shooting political opponents, late husband MORE: If you want to talk about civility, start with Trump: Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingHas Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? Maxine Waters is the Wall Street sheriff the people deserve Ex-GOP congressman heads to investment bank MORE (R-Texas) traded barbs Wednesday over controversial comments the Democrat made last weekend about how Trump officials should be treated in public.

Waters defended her Saturday call for Americans to confront Trump administration employees in public places, saying the president has been "advocating pure violence" since his 2016 presidential campaign.

"If you want to talk about civility, you start with the president of the United States," said Waters, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, at the panel's Wednesday hearing.

Hensarling, the committee's chairman, scolded Waters, invoking last year's congressional baseball practice shooting and the consequences of violent rhetoric.

"We all know that words matter. I know that [Rep.] Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Cheney slated to introduce bill to place sanctions on Turkey MORE [(R-La.)] believes this, and if you listened to him yesterday, you will know passionately he does," said Hensarling, referring to the House Majority Whip who suffered near-fatal injuries in the shooting.

Hensarling also raised the country's history of racial segregation to criticize the restaurant that refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the weekend.

I've got more on the fight here.

 

Supreme Court deals blow to public-sector unions, ruling against 'fair-share' fees: The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to state and local public-sector unions on Wednesday, ruling that nonunion members can't be forced to pay a "fair-share" union fee.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down an Illinois law, similar to laws in 22 other states, that allowed agencies to collect fees from nonunion members for collective bargaining.

The court's conservative majority led by Justice Samuel Alito ruled that the law violates the First Amendment because it compels the employee to support a union message they may oppose.

"Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from the nonmember's wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay," Alito wrote.

The Hill's Lydia Wheeler explains the ruling here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Over 80 percent of 1,586 digital coins Finder.com tracks in a weekly survey decreased in price in the past seven days, according to Bloomberg.
  • Households earning $117,000 a year now qualify as "low income" in three California counties, according to new federal data.