On The Money: Negotiators aiming to reach deal Monday night | Why border talks stalled | Treasury calls reports on dip in tax refunds 'misleading' | Cuomo, Trump to discuss SALT deduction cap

Happy Monday 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-- Treasury calls reports on dip in tax refunds 'misleading' The Treasury Department on Monday said reports of a reduction in average tax refunds in 2019 are "misleading."

In a tweet, the department said refund amounts have been consistent with 2017 levels and "down slightly" from last year, something it blamed on a small sample size.

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"News reports on reduction in IRS filings & refunds are misleading. Refunds are consistent with 2017 levels and down slightly from 2018 based on a small initial sample from only a few days of data," the tweet reads.

Early statistics from the IRS showed that the average refund amount through Feb. 1 was $1,865 -- down 8.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

Tax filing season started Jan. 28 and ends in April. This year's filing is being closely watched because tax filings will reflect the first full year of the changes made in the GOP's 2017 tax overhaul. 

The context:

  • 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.
  • While most people are expected see a tax cut, Democratic lawmakers have expressed concerns that some people expecting refunds will owe the IRS money instead because they didn't have enough taxes withheld from their paychecks throughout the year.
  • This year's filing season also started just days after the 35-day government shutdown ended. Funding for the IRS lapsed during the shutdown, leaving many of its employees furloughed or working without pay.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • 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.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Negotiators aiming to reach deal Monday night: Lawmakers involved in the negotiations to prevent a second government shutdown say they are aiming to reach an agreement on Monday night. 

Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse MORE (D-Vt.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal GOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default MORE (R-Ala.), the top two members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said a core group of four lawmakers including themselves and Reps. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyHillicon Valley: Trump officials to investigate French tax on tech giants | Fed chair raises concerns about Facebook's crypto project | FCC blocks part of San Francisco law on broadband competition | House members warn of disinformation 'battle' Lawmakers, experts see combating Russian disinformation as a 'battle' Top Democrats call for administration to rescind child migrant information sharing policy MORE (D-N.Y.) and Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerLobbying world House approves bill increasing federal worker pay House approves 3 billion spending package MORE (R-Texas) would reconvene at 8 p.m. with the aim of getting a deal to break the months-long stalemate. 

What they are saying: "I think we both agree that we can wrap this up tonight, do it tonight, not go over until tomorrow," Leahy told reporters after a core group met for a second time on Monday night. 

Shelby added that the group was currently talking about "serious, serious stuff" and that the goal was to wrap up talks on Monday night. 

How we got here:

The key negotiators met earlier in the day at 3:30 p.m. Monday after talks derailed over the weekend.

The new round of meetings come days ahead of Congress's Feb. 15 deadline to clinch a deal on President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's U.S.-Mexico border wall and funding for roughly a quarter of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Lawmakers left Washington late last week relatively optimistic they would be able to get a deal by Friday, the date established by a three-week stopgap measure that Trump signed into law last month, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
  • But lawmakers are stuck on two key issues: the amount of physical barrier funding and the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds to be funded.

The stakes: Shelby on Sunday acknowledged that talks were stalemated and put the chances of getting a deal at 50-50.

"We're hoping we can get there. But we've got to get fluid again. We've got to start movement," Shelby said on "Fox News Sunday."

Trump lashes out: President Trump on Monday lashed out at Democrats after border security negotiations hit a snag in part because of their desire to cap the number of beds available to hold detained immigrants.

"The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens! This is a brand new demand. Crazy!" Trump tweeted.

Democrats want to cap the number of detention beds for immigrants picked up by ICE in other parts of the country away from the border at 16,000, an administration official said, down from 38,000. Republicans have pushed to exclude a number of immigrants convicted of a range of crimes from that cap. More from The Hill's Brett Samuels here.

Dems flex their muscles: The Hill's Mike Lillis has more on how Democrats are leaning in hard in talks on border security. Democratic negotiators are facing pressure from the party's liberal flank to try and limit law enforcement operations against immigrants in the country illegally.

 

Poll--One-third of small businesses harmed by shutdown: More than one-third of small-business owners said the recent partial government shutdown harmed their firms, according to a CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll released Monday.

  • 37 percent of the 2,200 small business owners polled said the 35-day shutdown, which ended Jan. 25, hurt their bottom lines.
  • 35 percent of respondents reported a decline in sales during that period.
  • 13 percent said they lost a contract with a federal agency during the shutdown.
  • 10 percent said they lost access to loans from the Small Business Administration.

The survey was conducted Jan. 28 through Feb. 4, shortly after President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agreed to fund the affected part of the government through Feb. 15.

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The poll results come just five days before 25 percent of the federal government is slated to close again unless lawmakers can agree on spending legislation that Trump will sign into law.

 

GOOD TO KNOW 

 

ODDS AND ENDS