On The Money: Mnuchin warns US could hit debt limit in early September | Acosta out as Labor chief | Trump pitches trade deal in Wisconsin | FTC reportedly settles with Facebook for $5B fine

On The Money: Mnuchin warns US could hit debt limit in early September | Acosta out as Labor chief | Trump pitches trade deal in Wisconsin | FTC reportedly settles with Facebook for $5B fine
© Aaron Schwartz

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

 

THE BIG DEAL--Mnuchin warns US could hit debt ceiling in early September: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE is warning that the United States could run out of money in early September unless Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling before leaving for the August recess. 

"Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes. As such, I request that Congress increase the debt ceiling before Congress leaves for summer recess," Mnuchin wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (D-Calif.).

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Mnuchin sent identical letters on Friday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.).

 

Why this is scary: The letters mark Mnuchin's first formal request that Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling before lawmakers leave for the August break. He had indicated after a Wednesday meeting with McConnell and McCarthy that he would prefer Congress act before leaving for the recess.

But projections released just a few days ago gave Congress at least a few days beyond to break to raise the legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can hold.

The new timeline would give Congress a matter of weeks to come up with a strategy for how to raise the debt ceiling, since the House is scheduled to leave on July 26 and the Senate on August 2. The Hill's Jordain Carney tells us what's at stake here.

 

GOP reluctant to accept standalone debt ceiling hike: If it were up to Mnuchin, the House and Senate would have already passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling. But GOP senators have been reluctant to accept a bill that only raises the debt ceiling, preferring one attached to a broader spending bill.

Republicans say there's little desire in their conference to vote on a standalone proposal to increase the nation's debt limit, something that's broadly unpopular with the base.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Republican leaders would have a tough time passing such a measure if it's not attached to a broader spending deal.

And Democratic leaders have said for months they want to move a debt limit agreement and a spending deal in the same package. The Hill's Alexander Bolton tells us more about the political obstacles here.

 

Here's the problem: The House and Senate have made little to no progress on reaching a deal that would set ceilings for the next year, and they're running out of time before the next fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Lawmakers are conceding that Congress might have to pass a stopgap measure or continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open this fall.

Congress and government administrators alike despise CRs, which freeze spending limits in place, limit the ability of agencies to embark on new projects, throw sand in the gears of multiyear programs and create uncertainty about future spending. But...

 

 

The Hill's Niv Elis tells us what's ahead for congressional appropriators here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Acosta out as Trump's Labor secretary: Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaOur farmers need a better labor program Three more Epstein accusers sue estate Barr removes prisons chief after Epstein death MORE announced Friday he will resign as Labor secretary amid mounting scrutiny over his role in negotiating a secret plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of young girls.

Standing alongside Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House, President Trump said he "did an unbelievable job as secretary of Labor" and added it was Acosta's decision to step down.

"This was him not me, because I'm with him," Trump told reporters before leaving for a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio. "I hate to see this happen."

Acosta's resignation will take effect next Friday. Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will lead the department on an acting basis.

How it happened: Acosta said he phoned Trump that morning to tell him he was stepping aside because he does not want his handling of the Epstein plea agreement to consume the administration.

"I did not think it was right and fair for this administration's Labor department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy," Acosta said, adding that it would be "selfish" for him to remain in the Cabinet.

Acosta later tweeted out a copy of his resignation letter to Trump. You can see Acosta's letter and read more about his downfall here.

 

Trump pitches new North America trade deal during stop in Wisconsin: President Trump on Friday sought to boost his renegotiated North America trade agreement during a speech to employees at a Wisconsin factory, as one of his top legislative priorities faces an uncertain path through Congress.

The president touted the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump has repeatedly slammed the latter deal as the "worst trade deal" in the country's history.

"For years members of Congress have demanded a replacement for NAFTA," Trump said during remarks at Derco Aerospace Inc. in Milwaukee.

"Now they finally have the best replacement that they could ever even imagine," he continued. "The farmers can't believe it. The manufacturers can't believe it ... the unions can't believe it. It's good for everybody."

Trump urged Congress to approve the USMCA "immediately" so that he could sign it into law.

But Congress is unable to vote on the pact until the White House sends the implementation legislation, which CNBC reported won't arrive before Sept. 1. 

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on Facebook's Project Libra cryptocurrency payments system, 10 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee continues a markup of pending legislation, 10 a.m.

 

Wednesday:

  • A Senate Banking subcommittee will hold a hearing on economic mobility in the U.S., 9:30 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on Facebook's Project Libra cryptocurrency payments system, 10 a.m.

 

Thursday:

  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on export control reform, 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a markup to consider legislation to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and counterfeiting, 10 a.m. 

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook following its investigation into the company's handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the largest the FTC has ever imposed for privacy violations.
  • The IRS announced on Friday that it has entered into a contract with a third party that will review the agency's "Free File" partnership with tax-preparation companies.
  • Advancing technology and automation are likely to hit rural areas and the middle class hardest, according to a new report by McKinsey.
  • President Trump denounced various cryptocurrencies, including Facebook's newly announced Libra, on Thursday as lawmakers and regulators express deep concern about the social media giant's financial services ambitions.