On The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit

On The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money, which is almost as valuable as the $900-million Mega Millions jackpot. 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--Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi conference: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump: China tariffs will remain for 'substantial period of time' even with deal Pompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute On The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses MORE announced Thursday that he will pull out of a major economic conference being hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next week in Riyadh, amid tension over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

"Just met with @realDonaldTrumpand @SecPompeo and we have decided, I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia," Mnuchin tweeted Thursday morning.

Mnuchin announced his decision after meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight State Department blocks reporters from Pompeo briefing with faith-based media: report MORE, the latter of whom returned Wednesday from a trip to Saudi Arabia where he met with members of the royal family.

The decision for Mnuchin to skip the conference is the toughest signal the administration has given against Saudi Arabia and comes after nearly a week of speculation over whether he would go to Riyadh. 

He had come under pressure in recent days from Republican members of the Foreign Relations Committee to skip the conference after the disappearance of Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Saudi journalist who was a frequent contributor to The Washington Post.  Mnuchin's decision came soon after the French and Dutch finance ministers withdrew from the summit. The Hill's Alexander Bolton has more here.

The decision to skip the conference was just one of many signals from the administration on Thursday of a tougher stance on the Saudis. More on that here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Harris rolls out bill to create new middle class tax credit: Let the pre-2020 platforming commence! Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJ.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes to host Kamala Harris fundraiser Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday rolled out a proposal to create a new refundable tax credit for low- and middle-income individuals and families -- the latest economic policy proposal from the potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

"Americans are working harder than ever but stagnant wages mean they can't keep up with cost of living increases," Harris said in a news release. "We should put money back into the pockets of American families to address rising costs of childcare, housing, tuition, and other expenses. Our tax code should reflect our values and instead of more tax breaks for the top 1% and corporations, we should be lifting up millions of American families." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda breaks it down here.

 

How it works:

  • Families making up to $100,00 annually would be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $6,000, with would decrease as a taxpayers' income increases. Taxpayers could receive the credit either at the end of a year or in monthly installments over the course of a year.
  • The bill would also increase funding for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which helps low-income taxpayers prepare their tax returns.
  • Harris proposes paying for the bill by repealing parts of President Trump's tax-cut law that don't provide saving money for taxpayers making under $100,000, and by imposing fees on financial institutions with assets of more than $50 billion. 

 

Consumer bureau to probe top Trump official's past racial comments: The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has asked internal government watchdogs to investigate the emergence of and response to writings by a top agency employee dismissing racial discrimination.

Acting CFPB chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney poised to become permanent White House chief of staff: report Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration Trump: Media 'working overtime to blame me' for New Zealand attack MORE has asked the Federal Reserve inspector general office to probe the growing controversy over 14-year-old blog posts written by Eric Blankenstein, associate director of the Office of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending.

The CFPB, housed within the Fed system, uses the central bank's inspectors for internal probes. Mulvaney's referral was first reported by Politico and the Associated Press, and a CFPB spokesman confirmed Mulvaney's request to The Hill. I'll tell you more here about where things stand at the bureau. 

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The growing consensus among Amazon watchers is that the place that checks the most boxes for its next headquarters is Northern Virginia, according to the New York Times.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is launching a new division meant to help fintech startups – including those launching initial coin offerings (ICOs) – navigate federal law, according to CoinBase.
  • Marijuana retailers across Canada have reportedly been experiencing shortages or running out of stock entirely just one day after the country moved to legalize the recreational sale of the drug.