Overnight Finance

On The Money: Trump, Dems battle over border wall before cameras | Clash ups odds of shutdown | Senators stunned by Trump’s shutdown threat | Pelosi calls wall ‘a manhood thing’ for Trump

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Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. 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–Trump, Democrats battle over wall in Oval Office spat: President Trump on Tuesday engaged in an extraordinary argument with Democratic congressional leaders over government funding, threatening a partial shutdown if his demands for border wall money are not met.  

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a contentious, 17-minute exchange inside the Oval Office.

{mosads}”I will take the mantle,” the president added. “I will be the one to shut it down, I’m not going to blame you for it.” 

Trump’s vehemence left Pelosi and Schumer exasperated, with both leaders pleading with the president not to debate the funding request in front of the news media.

“Unfortunately, this has spiraled downward,” Pelosi said, after arguing with the president over the need for a border wall and whether Republicans have the votes to pass wall funding through the House. The Hill’s Jordan Fabian has more from Trump’s wild Oval Office showdown with “Chuck and Nancy.”


Senators dumbfounded: The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that senators were astounded by Trump’s pledge to take credit for a partial government shutdown that would occur two days before Christmas Eve.

Republican leaders have spent weeks trying to steer the president away from a government shutdown, but all that work went out the window earlier in the day.

GOP leaders were left cringing by Trump’s vow to take responsibility for a partial shutdown and his promise not to blame Democrats.

  • Asked if he had seen the exchange on television, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), said, “I did, unfortunately. I wish I didn’t.”
  • Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) threw up his hands when asked about his reaction, saying: “I heard it was very entertaining television.”
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who urged the president in a private meeting before Thanksgiving not to shut down federal agencies over the border wall, said: “I’m always trying to work to fund the government.”


Pelosi mocks Trump on wall, ‘manhood’: House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi mocked President Trump’s desire for border-wall funding hours after a tempestuous Oval Office meeting, calling it a “manhood thing” for him during a private meeting with Democrats.

“It’s like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing,” the California Democrat told members of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in a closed-door meeting after returning to the Capitol.

“It was so wild,” Pelosi described the meeting to her colleagues, according to sources inside the room. “It goes to show you: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.” Scott Wong and Melanie Zanona have more here on Pelosi’s victory lap.





Takeaways from Kraninger’s first comments as consumer bureau chief: Kathy Kraninger spoke to reporters Tuesday during her first day as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former White House budget official took questions about her priorities, how she plans to handle internal turmoil, and whether she’ll go through with a controversial name change. Here’s what we learned today:

On BlankensteinKraninger sidestepped questions about whether she’d fire a senior official who authored blog posts dismissing most hate crimes despite internal calls for his removal.

Kraninger told reporters Tuesday that she would “take stock” of the controversy surrounding enforcement chief Eric Blankenstein’s anonymous 2004 writings, but hinted that the controversial posts wouldn’t factor into her decision.

Kraninger declined to go into the specifics of Blankenstein’s case, saying she had “no intention of making any personnel decision on my first day” and that such issues are “inherently confidential.”

But the new director added that she “will take people at face value and where they are today and what they’re doing for the bureau.” 

“I have 1,500 employees so I’m not going to go back and look at everything they may have ever written in their lives,” Kraninger said. 

Ties to Mulvaney: Kraninger emphasized the inherent differences between her responsibilities as the permanent CFPB director and Mulvaney’s temporary appointment. She said she’s planning a three-month listening tour of the bureau’s departments, including field offices across the country, to gauge the concerns and priorities of agency employees.

“It’s very different to be coming in on the front-end of this as the face of the administration,” Kraninger said, saying it’s a “completely different posture than coming in for a five-year term carrying out the mission of the organization.”

Name change: Mulvaney in April began the process of rebranding the CFPB as the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” the formal name given to the agency under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that created it.

But an internal CFPB analysis first reported by The Hill found that the name-change could cost businesses regulated by the agency more than $300 million. 

Speaking in front of a flag with a Mulvaney-approved seal sporting the new name, Kraninger said she was aware of the potential cost and planned to take action on the name-change in the near term. 

“I care more about what the agency does than what it is called,” Kraninger said, noting that employees were “caught off guard” and “want to make sure consumers know the brand of this agency.”

“There are resource implications here that I will weigh and that we’ll be talking about,” Kraninger added.


Senate passes farm bill: The Senate on Tuesday approved a massive farm and agriculture bill, marking off one of the remaining crucial items on its to-do list.  

Senators voted 87-13 on the legislation, which was unveiled on Monday night after months of closed-door negotiations. The bill now heads to the House. 

The legislation authorizes agriculture assistance and nutrition programs for the next five years. The current farm bill lapsed on Sept. 30, but senators viewed the end of the year as their hard deadline, with numerous programs expiring this month.

Controversy: The bill doesn’t include tougher work requirements for food stamps pushed for by House Republicans and President Trump, sparking backlash from conservatives.

Heritage Action for America, a conservative outside group, urged lawmakers to oppose the bill on Tuesday and warned they would key-vote the measure.


Trump announces housing-finance, market watchdog nominees: President Trump on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate two key financial regulators to posts overseeing the federal housing finance system and U.S. derivatives markets, respectively.

The White House said Trump plans to nominate Mark Calabria, the chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to direct the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Treasury Department assistant secretary Heath Tarbert to chair the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Both nominees would play critical roles in the Trump administration’s efforts to overhaul the post-financial crisis regulatory regime and broaden its impact on the agencies enforcing those laws. I’ve got more on Trump’s picks here.



  • AP: Wells Fargo charges students the most in fees on average to have a bank account, according to a government report.
  • The Trump administration is reportedly set to condemn China this week over economic espionage and hacking campaigns, a move that would likely increase tensions between the two countries amid a trade war truce.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump said Tuesday he would intervene in the case involving a top Chinese technology executive if it would help close a trade deal with Beijing.
  • The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Trump’s nominee for deputy Treasury secretary after a key Democrat lifted a hold on the nomination.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a difficult two weeks ahead of him as he tries to navigate disputes within his conference over the lame-duck Congress’s final legislative goals.
  • The Treasury Department and IRS on Monday released guidance that officials said is designed to minimize the impact of a tax on nonprofits’ parking-benefit expenses that was created by the tax law President Trump signed last year.



  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended the internet giant’s business practices during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump John Cornyn John Thune Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Richard Shelby

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