Overnight Finance

On The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're "very committed" to bringing you the latest on Herman Cain's bid for the Federal Reserve Board. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

 

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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL--Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed: Herman Cain, who President Trump floated for a position on the Federal Reserve Board, said Wednesday he will continue to seek a spot at the central bank despite almost insurmountable Republican opposition.

Cain, channeling Tom Petty, told The Wall Street Journal in a Wednesday interview that he won't back down and will not withdraw from consideration for a nomination to the board even after GOP senators all but doomed his appointment.

The 2012 Republican presidential candidate told the Journal he's "very committed" to seeing the vetting process through after Trump announced earlier this month he intended to nominate Cain to the Fed if he passed a background check.

"The president asked me one simple question," Cain told the Journal. "He said, 'Would you consider doing this if you make it through the process?' I said 'yes.' Didn't hesitate." I've got more here.

 

How we got here:

  • Four of the Senate's 53 Republicans announced last week that they would refuse to vote for Cain, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, if he was formally nominated by Trump.
  • If nominated, Cain would need the unlikely support of at least one Senate Democrat to be confirmed if all other Republicans voted for his nomination. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has bucked his party to support other Trump appointees, also said last week he wouldn't vote for Cain.
  • Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Tuesday that the administration had been interviewing potential candidates to replace Cain and Stephen Moore, whom Trump also floated for a Fed seat.
  • "I think at the end of the day, it will probably be up to Herman Cain to stay in that process or not," Kudlow said. "As far as we're concerned, he's still in that process and it's proceeding in an orderly way."

 

But Cain declined to take the out. Cain told the Journal that "What Kudlow was doing was giving me an out, and I appreciate that, but I don't want an out."

"You know that the president is a fighter, and Kudlow is a fighter. They might be getting a lot of blowback from some folks, I don't know. But I don't think they're getting uncomfortable with it," Cain added.

 

The bottom line: Cain is right that Trump has gravitated toward folks that put up a fight and try to push through obstacles to their confirmation. The president reportedly grew fonder of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after his aggressive response to the sexual assault allegations made against him.

But four GOP senators have already opposed Cain before he was even formally nominated, and there are several more who seem like they would vote against him too. Kavanaugh never saw that level of opposition from Republicans. For Cain, the math just doesn't work in his favor.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW: The Mueller Report. The Justice Department is scheduled to release a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Stick with TheHill.com for everything you need to know about one what promises to be a heck of a read.

 

Washington is already in a frenzy. More on the scene in the capital the night before the report drops. And the sparks are already flying after Attorney General William Barr announced plans to hold a press conference even before Congress gets the report.

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job: White House adviser Ivanka Trump says that President Trump asked her if she wanted to lead the World Bank, but she told him no.

Ivanka Trump said in an Associated Press interview published Wednesday that her father asked her "a question" about whether she wanted to work for the international financial institution, but that she is "happy with the work" she does currently.

Trump, who is touring Africa to promote her Women's Global Development and Prosperity initiative, played a role in choosing David Malpass to lead the World Bank instead, she said, adding that he'll do an "incredible job."

 

The background:

  • President Trump said he "thought of Ivanka for the World Bank" in an interview published Friday in The Atlantic, but said that he did not choose her for the role to avoid accusations of nepotism.
  • Before Malpass was nominated, the White House denied reports that the president was considering his daughter for the role.

 

Pelosi: No US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace deal: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned British politicians negotiating a withdrawal from the European Union that a trade deal with the U.S. would be off the table if Brexit harms Irish peace.

"Let me be clear: if the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday accords, there will be no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement," Pelosi said in a Wednesday address to the Irish Parliament.

Pelosi's words add pressure to Brexiteers, warning that the U.S. will not be quick to rebuild its trade relationship with a post-Europe Britain in the event that Brexit results in an Irish border.

The Hill's Niv Elis breaks it down.

 

A brief history lesson:

  • The 1998 Good Friday Agreement brought to an end the Northern Ireland conflict, which broke out in the 1960s.
  • One of the central difficulties British negotiators have faced in their Brexit negotiations is how to deal with Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. but shares a border with Ireland, which is part of the EU.

 

The issue today: Those opposed to Brexit have raised concerns that a Brexit deal might require imposing a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, upsetting the deal that has maintained peace for over two decades.

  • The EU proposed a "backstop" proposal that would allow Northern Ireland to continue functioning within the EU's single market, but British politicians raised concerns that such a solution would create trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit proposal, called for an "Irish backstop" that would essentially leave the U.K. in Europe's customs union and single market unless an alternative solution was agreed upon for Northern Ireland.
  • Britain's Parliament rejected the plan on several occasions, with Brexit proponents arguing that it left the U.K. confined to the EU system of trade and rules while stripping it of any political power within the trading bloc.

 

Why it matters for the U.S.: Because the U.S. trade relationship with Britain is largely governed through trade deals with the EU, Britain would need to lay out a new trade deal with the U.S. following Brexit. Any new trade deal would have to be brought to a vote in Congress, meaning the Speaker could block a vote.

 

FLASHBACK--April 22, 2016: "Obama: Brexit would put UK 'back of the queue' for trade talks"

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The Treasury Department on Wednesday released a second set of guidance on the "opportunity zone" program created by President Trump's tax law, the same day the White House held an event to tout the program.
  • The U.S. trade deficit dropped to an eight-month low in February, while the gap in value between goods exchanged with China fell 28 percent, according to federal data released Wednesday.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) on Wednesday defended his charitable giving for the second day in a row, saying he had donated much more in time and money than his tax returns show. He said Tuesday he contributes by serving in public office.
  • A poll released Wednesday found that more people disapprove of President Trump's 2017 tax-cut law than approve of it -- the latest sign that the law is unpopular with voters.
  • The Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted Venezuela's central bank under sanctions meant to financially starve President Nicolás Maduro and his government.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is reportedly set to hire former Fox News contributor Monica Crowley as a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department.
  • The Trump administration is imposing new restrictions on travel to Cuba and new limits on the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to relatives on the island, national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday.
  • Op-Ed: Alex He, a research fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, argues that "a lasting US-China trade deal boils down to one thing: enforcement."
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