On The Money: Lawmakers closing in on border deal | Dems build case for Trump tax returns | Trump, Xi won't meet before trade deadline | Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony

Happy Thursday 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--Lawmakers say they're closing in on border deal to prevent shutdown: Lawmakers on Thursday said they are closing in on an agreement to prevent a second partial government shutdown and resolve the months-long fight over President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE's proposed border wall.

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Congress has until Feb. 15 to send the president legislation, but negotiators consider Monday their unofficial deadline to ensure an agreement has enough time to make it through both chambers and to Trump's desk by next Friday.  

 

What they're saying:

 

How we got here: The acceleration of negotiations is a drastic turnaround from Monday, when the bicameral conference committee was off to a painfully slow start and had not, according to lawmakers, begun talking about "substance" yet.

But there were signs of progress on Thursday, when Shelby briefed Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House about the negotiations.

  • "If we can work within some of the parameters that we've talked about today ... I think he would sign it," Shelby said. "And I think he's, from my perspective, been quite reasonable."
  • "Both sides are moving along. We'll see what happens," Trump said at the White House. "We need border security. We have to have it. It's not an option. Let's see what happens."

 

What comes next: In addition to Trump, any agreement would need to get approval from congressional leadership. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Progressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan MORE (D-Calif.) said she was being a "non-interventionist" on the talks and had urged the White House to take the same position. 

"Just let them do their work, and then hopefully, that will get some good news in a short period of time," she told reporters.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Trump, Xi won't meet before March 1 trade deadline: President Trump said Thursday he has no plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a self-imposed March 1 deadline for the two countries to reach a trade agreement.

Trump was also noncommittal when asked if there would be a meeting in the next month or so, saying "not yet, maybe."

"Probably too soon. Probably too soon," he said of a meeting in that timeframe.

The comments came after White House officials said the two sides remained far apart on key trade disputes, stoking fears about the potential for U.S.-China trade tensions to flare once again. The Hill's Jordan Fabian tells us more.

Stock markets plunged on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down more than 220 points and the S&P 500 Index fell almost 1 percent.

The U.S. and China reached a temporary trade truce in December, with the Trump administration agreeing to hold off on raising tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent while both sides negotiated a broader agreement.

 

Dems build case for Trump tax returns: House Democrats on Thursday used a much-anticipated Ways and Means Committee subcommittee hearing to help make their case for obtaining President Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department.

"When we have cause for concern over conflicts or tax violations, we have every reason to use the authority given to this committee. The law is on our side," Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellOn The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes GOP lawmaker calls for investigation into CNN spy story Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property MORE (D-N.J.), a leader in Democrats' push to obtain Trump's tax returns, said at Thursday's hearing.

The big picture: Obtaining Trump's tax returns is one of the new House Democratic majority's top oversight priorities. Democrats are interested in reviewing the documents to learn about any possible conflicts of interests that Trump may have.

What's next: A provision in the federal tax code allows the chairmen of Congress's tax committees to request anyone's tax returns from the Treasury Department and review them in a closed session. The committees could vote to send a report on the returns to the full House or Senate, and tax-return information in the report could then become public.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealLobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs Senate confirms two Treasury nominees over Democratic objections Trump urges judge to deny New York's motion to dismiss state tax return lawsuit MORE (D-Mass.) has said he plans to use his authority to request Trump's tax returns, but he's also said he wants to move methodically because the request is likely to lead to a lengthy legal battle. Neal is facing pressure from progressives to move quickly with the 2020 election approaching.

 

Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on Russia sanctions: Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Democrats' impeachment message leads to plenty of head-scratching MORE (D-Calif.) is reportedly in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Graham clash over Iran policy Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran MORE about testifying before her committee about the Trump administration's decision to ease sanctions on companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with links to Vladimir Putin.

Politico and CNN report that Waters and Mnuchin spoke on Wednesday about possible dates for Mnuchin's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

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Waters told reporters on Wednesday that her committee would seek to understand why the Trump administration reduced sanctions on three companies after Deripaska reduced his ownership stake in the firms.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it will start showing the list price of its prescription drugs in television ads, making it the first company to do so.
  • Op-Ed: Rachel Greszler, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, argues that federal workers need to see a "drastic overhaul"  of their compensation system instead of a pay raise.