On The Money: Negotiators discussing border funding lower than Trump's demand | Amazon reconsiders HQ2 move to New York City | Early IRS numbers point to smaller average refunds

Happy Friday 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 haggling over border dollars much lower than Trump's demand: Lawmakers seeking a deal on border security that would avert a second partial government shutdown are haggling over figures below President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE's demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the Mexican border.


Republican negotiators are pushing for $2 billion or more in funding, while Democrats say they hope the figure will not go above $1.6 billion.

Just as important are specifications for how funds can be spent, with Democrats pushing for specific restrictions on what kinds of barriers could be built and where.

"I want the highest possible number we can get, but I would hope it would be north of" $2 billion, said Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannDemocrats may bring DHS bill to House floor GOP-Trump fractures on masks open up Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve' MORE (R-Tenn.), a member of the bipartisan negotiating committee. The Hill's Niv Elis fills us in here.


The details

  • Lawmakers face a Feb. 15 deadline to reach a deal and are working through the weekend to try to get one in place by Monday, which would give the House and Senate enough time to pass a bill before funds for parts of the government would run out.
  • Trump has largely allowed talks to proceed unimpeded, but negotiators are concerned that he will dismiss the final result as insufficient.
  • At that point, they worry, he could allow the government to shut down for the second time this year or declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build the wall using other funds.

What comes next: The status of negotiations is expected to come up at Camp David Friday evening, where acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE is convening a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including three of the conferees and several Budget Committee members.

Democratic negotiators say they are reviewing the latest offer Republicans sent over on Thursday night, and expect to respond tonight. Though conferees have not yet scheduled another meeting for the weekend, staff negotiations are expected to continue.



Amazon reconsiders bringing HQ2 to New York: Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its plan to build part of its new headquarters in New York City following pushback from area lawmakers and activists.

Two sources familiar with Amazon's plans told The Washington Post that the retail giant is weighing whether it is "worth it" to bring its headquarters to Queens as local politicians and critics, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump campaign rolls out TV spots in early voting states after advertising pause Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' 'Squad' member Rashida Tlaib faces strong primary challenger MORE (D-N.Y.), drum up anti-Amazon fervor. 

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in New York don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming," one person familiar with Amazon's plans told the Post.


Early IRS numbers point to smaller average refunds his year: Days into this year's tax filing season, people are so far seeing smaller refunds compared to the same period last year, according to early statistics from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS's first weekly report this year of filing-season data found that the average refund amount through Feb. 1 was $1,865 -- 8.4 percent smaller than the average refund last year as of Feb. 2.

There were also fewer taxpayers who filed their returns in the first few days of this year's filing season. The IRS said it received more than 16 million returns as of Feb. 1, down more than 12 million from the same time last year.

Why the numbers matter: The statistics mark an early look at the filing season, which started Jan. 28 and ends in mid-April. Taxpayers who claim certain refundable tax credits won't start receiving refunds until later this month. By law, the IRS can't issue those taxpayers refunds until Feb. 15. This year's filing season will be closely watched, as it's the first year that people's tax filings will reflect many of the changes made in Republicans' 2017 tax law. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has the story.




  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the use of financial sanctions and foreign policy, 10 a.m.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on the rising cost of prescription drug prices, 10 a.m.
  • The American Enterprise Institute hosts a panel discussion entitled "Global financial market risks: Entering unchartered territory," 2 p.m.



  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on ending the homelessness crisis, 10 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a holds a hearing on banking access for cannabis businesses, 2 p.m.



  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on affordable housing in rural America, 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a confirmation hearing on the nominations of Bimal Patel, of Georgia, to be an assistant secretary of the Treasury; Todd M. Harper to be a member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; Rodney Hood to be a member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; and Mark Calabria to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, 10 a.m.



  • Scores of federal workers have not received all of the backpay they're owed from the government shutdown, according to the Washington Post.
  • Major U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year -- almost double the IRS's annual budget -- thanks to the Republican tax overhaul, according to Bloomberg News.
  • The Trump administration could be opening up a new front in the trade wars by taking on the European auto industry, according to CNBC.
  • The Federal Reserve will examine large banks' ability to withstand a harsher hypothetical downturn in the 2019 stress tests, but will be disclosing more details, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.