On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive $5B fine

On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive $5B fine
© Anna Moneymaker

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, available in all three proposed Californias. 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.

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--Commerce Department weighing tariffs on uranium: Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossWhite House confirms new trade talks with China EU threatens ‘swift and adequate’ action if Trump imposes tariffs on imported cars Supreme Court to hear census citizenship case this term MORE announced Wednesday that his agency would investigate whether uranium imports to the United States pose any threat to national security, the first step toward imposing tariffs on the nuclear fuel.

In a statement citing idle U.S. mines and massive layoffs in the U.S. uranium mining sector over the past two years, Ross announced that he had accepted a petition from two U.S. energy companies to launch the probe.

"Our production of uranium necessary for military and electric power has dropped from 49 percent of our consumption to five percent," Ross said. "The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent review to determine whether uranium imports threaten to impair national security."

Ross noted that three U.S. mining companies have idled in recent years and that two companies representing half of America's uranium mining efforts had laid off more than 50 percent of their workforce over the last two years. Here's more on what could come next.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW

 

LEADING THE DAY

Dems call for hearings on Trump's CFPB nominee to be put on hold: Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are calling on the panel's chairman, Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoPrivate insurance plays a critical part in home mortgage ecosystem On The Money: Lawmakers race to pass border deal | Trump rips 'stingy' Democrats, but says shutdown would be 'terrible' | Battle over contractor back pay | Banking panel kicks off data security talks Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill MORE (R-Idaho), to delay Thursday's hearing for Kathleen Kraninger, President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) if the administration does not respond to requests for information in time.

In a letter sent Tuesday night, which The Hill obtained, the panel's Democrats said the administration has not responded to requests for relevant documents and other information in advance of Thursday's hearing.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats MORE (D-Ohio) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign MORE (D-Mass.) sent Kraninger a letter in June asking for information on what role she played in the Trump Administration's policy of separating children from their families at the southern border. At OMB, Kraninger oversaw the budgets of seven Cabinet departments including Homeland Security and Justice.

And Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE (D-N.J.) sent Kraninger a letter last week, which Brown, Warren and Sen. Catherine Cortez (D-Nev.) joined, asking for a full accounting of Kraninger's role in the administration's botched response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Here's more from The Hill's Lydia Wheeler.

 

Auto industry, lawmakers urge Trump to steer away from car tariffs: A bipartisan group of 149 members of Congress on Wednesday urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to back away from threats of imposing tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts or risk damaging the U.S. economy.

In a letter led by Reps. Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiIndiana gets first national park While G-20 Summit was promising for US- China trade relations, Congress must still push for an exclusion process Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress MORE (R-Ind.), Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Former staffer accuses Jackson Lee of retaliation after rape claim Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour MORE (D-Ala.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyCongress needs to unite and pass this key infrastructure legislation Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R-Pa.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindSteel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Congress should stop tariff power grab, bring balance to US trade policy Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate MORE (D-Wis.), the lawmakers warned that tariffs, quotas or other restrictions on the industry will greatly diminish the benefits of the auto industry.

President Trump is threatening a 25 percent tariff on vehicles and components imported into the United States. The Commerce Department is also conducting a Section 232 investigation to determine whether autos or auto parts should be classified as a national security threat. 

"We do not believe that imports of automobiles and automotive parts pose a national security threat," the lawmakers wrote. "Rather, we believe the imposition of trade restrictions on these products could undermine our economic security."

Meanwhile, seven auto industry groups sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday urging him to drop the investigation that could lead to higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts. The Hill's Vicki Needham tells us what's at stake here.

 

White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding bill: The White House is expressing concerns that a funding bill set for a vote Thursday in the House does not make deep enough cuts for agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The House is debating a package of two spending bills, one for Financial Services and the other for Interior and Environment.

The bills, which advanced through committees along partisan lines, conform to a bipartisan budget cap deal that President Trump signed into law earlier this year.

But Trump's proposed budget called for slashing government programs by billions of dollars. The White House on Wednesday issued a Statement of Administration Policy expressing dismay that such cuts were not taken into account. The Hill's Niv Elis tells us why here.

 

MARKET CHECK: CNBC: "Stocks rose on Wednesday as Wall Street cheered strong quarterly results from Morgan Stanley and CSX.

"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 79.40 points to close at 25,199.29, with UnitedHealth and American Express outperforming. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2 percent to 2,815.62 as financials rose 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq Composite closed marginally lower at 7,854.44.

"Morgan Stanley shares rose 1.8 percent after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the previous quarter, boosted by strong trading and investment banking revenue. Bank of America, Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan Chase all closed higher as well."

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The United Kingdom's (U.K.) Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Wednesday that the United States is first in line for free trade deal negotiations once the nation completes its withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
  • A House spending bill has set aside $5 billion to build President Trump's proposed border wall, including 200 miles of new physical barriers and technology.
  • The European Union (EU) hit Google with a record $5 billion antitrust fine, accusing the company of illegally using its Android mobile operating system to cement its dominance over other online services.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday expressed doubts about the usefulness of cryptocurrency for anything other than obscuring illegal activity.
  • China's foreign ministry slammed what it called a U.S.-led trade war, saying the Trump administration has "dragged the entire global economy into a place of danger" with tariffs and threats of trade barriers.
  • Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill: Shahira Knight, who played a key role in developing the tax law Trump signed last year as a member of the White House National Economic Council.
  • Architects of the government's response to the last financial crisis worry the country is ill-equipped to handle another, according to The Washington Post. 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • A Democratic congressman is calling on the federal government to investigate the cryptocurrency industry out of concern that digital currencies helped enable Russian intelligence officials to interfere in the 2016 election.
  • A panel of federal regulators is proposing lifting the strict government oversight imposed on Zions Bancorp, a big regional bank that received a taxpayer-funded bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, according to the AP.