On The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector $60B boost

Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money, considerably shorter than the Mueller report, but just as scintillating. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

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--Well, the Mueller Report. As much as we think the world revolves around finance here at On The Money, the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's report is obviously the major story of the day.

Check out the excellent coverage of the report, the reaction to it and the fallout on our website at TheHill.com, where we've got stories on every conceivable aspect of the 400-plus page document so you don't have to read it on your own (unless you want to!). Here's just a sample of what we have for you.


And now, back to finance news...



Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal economic impact: The Mueller report wasn't the only exhaustive analysis of a Trump-related endeavor released today.


President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would provide a very modest boost to the economy, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The Hill's Niv Elis has the details here.

The topline:

  • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would increase economic growth by 0.35 percent, or $68.2 billion, and create 175,700 jobs, the government agency projected.
  • Wages would rise 0.27 percent, and the largest increases would be in manufacturing and mining, with the average wage climbing 0.43 percent among lower-educated workers.
  • U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico would increase and the trade deficit with Mexico would be reduced by $1.8 billion under the agreement. Exports to Mexico would get a $14.2 billion boost, compared with $12.4 billion in new imports.
  • The bilateral trade deficit with Canada would stay the same, with $19.1 billion in new exports countering $19.1 billion in imports.


Meanwhile, the White House sought to emphasize the impact on the U.S. auto sector in its own analysis released minutes earlier. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) projected a boost for U.S. automakers and parts producers in an economic analysis of the USCMA published Thursday.

  • The White House trade office projected the USMCA to spur $34 billion in investments in U.S. auto plants, $23 billion in American auto parts sales and create 76,000 new industry jobs over the course of five years.
  • The employment gains would include roughly 22,800 automotive assembly jobs, 8,000 additional advanced battery supplier jobs, and 45,600 additional automotive supplier jobs, according to USTR estimates. 

The state of play: The deal will not be in effect until the U.S., Canadian and Mexican legislatures approve it, and the USMCA faces significant hurdles in Congress.

Democratic lawmakers have said that USMCA's labor protections and environmental standards are too weak to earn their support.

"This report confirms what has been clear since this deal was announced – Donald Trump's NAFTA represents at best a minor update to NAFTA, which will offer only limited benefits to U.S. workers," said Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenIRS audit rate down in fiscal 2018 Oregon man sentenced after threatening to chop off Dem senator's tongue House to vote on retirement bill next week MORE (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, of the ITC report.

Liberals have threatened to vote against the deal without changes, but Republicans and White House officials say it's too late to adjust the terms.

"I'm glad to see the report recognized USMCA's new economic benefits," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending On The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Canada, Mexico lift tariffs on US goods after Trump scraps steel, aluminum levies MORE (R-Iowa), noting the trade deal's focus on reducing nontariff barriers.

Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. from NAFTA if Democrats do not approve the USMCA, which could pose significant damage to country's economy. Business groups have warned Trump against killing NAFTA, and formed a bipartisan coalition with several former lawmakers to rally lawmakers behind USMCA.


Cain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat: Herman Cain said Thursday that he intends to pursue a spot on the Federal Reserve Board and will not "run away from criticism," despite having almost no path toward confirmation.

Cain said in a Fox Business Network interview that he will not withdraw from consideration for a Fed nomination, floated by President Trump this month, even though he appears to lack the votes needed in the Senate and the White House says it is interviewing for replacement nominees.

"This noise chamber causes a lot of people, including senators, to get wishy-washy, but it doesn't cause me to want to withdraw," Cain said on "Varney & Co."

"I'm not withdrawing. That's not my nature," he added. I've got more here.

Reminder: With four of the 53 Senate Republicans opposed to Cain and others lobbying behind the scenes against his nomination, he would need the support of all other GOP senators and a Senate Democrat to be confirmed, an unlikely prospect.