On The Money: Liberal Dems warn moderates against changes to minimum wage bill | House grapples with Facebook's Libra | Congress, White House inch closer to budget deal | Blue states sue over tax law regulations

On The Money: Liberal Dems warn moderates against changes to minimum wage bill | House grapples with Facebook's Libra | Congress, White House inch closer to budget deal | Blue states sue over tax law regulations
© Greg Nash

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we feel incredibly vindicated by our skepticism of FaceApp. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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Programming note: This will be the last On The Money of the week, but we'll be back next Monday.

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--Liberal Democrats warn: We'll sink minimum wage bill if moderates change it: Progressive lawmakers warned Wednesday that they're ready to sink a Democratic bill to increase the minimum wage if the measure is amended ahead of the vote.

Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Medicare for all: fears and facts House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry MORE (D-Wis.), who co-chair the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), said members of the group are poised to vote en masse against legislation to hike the wage floor to $15 per hour if a procedural motion offered by the Republicans is adopted beforehand.

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The conflict: The message is a clear warning to moderate Democrats, some of whom have joined Republicans this year in supporting last-minute procedural gambits -- known as motions to recommit, or MTRs -- which grant the minority party a last-ditch opportunity to alter legislation before a final vote.

  • "We have no doubt that Congressional Republicans will try to divide the Democratic Caucus with a disingenuous Motion to Recommit. It's up to all of us to stand unified and reject their bad faith effort to undermine this bill," Pocan and Jayapal said in a statement.
  • "After consulting with our Members this week, we are confident that any bill that includes a poison pill Republican Motion to Recommit will lack the votes to pass on the House Floor."

The Hill's Mike Lillis explains here.

 

The background: The warning comes as liberal and moderate Democrats feud over the direction of the party and jockey for greater sway in policy debates.

  • The most recent blow up was last month's passage of legislation addressing the humanitarian crisis on the southern border.
  • Afterward, liberals were furious that the moderates had swung the debate, and the fallout included an unusual round of public -- and personal -- sniping between members of the two groups.

 

The key: The substance of the Republicans' motion to recommit remains unknown, since GOP leaders likely won't introduce the measure until minutes before Thursday's minimum wage vote. 

But in the eyes of CPC leaders, the content is irrelevant. They want the bill to remain as is -- and they're flexing the muscles of their 97-member group to ensure that's the case.

 

LEADING THE DAY

House asks Facebook: 'What is Libra?' House lawmakers struggled on Wednesday to understand how and why Facebook plans to enter the financial services industry and raised doubts about the viability and safety of the company's proposed cryptocurrency payments system.

Members of a House panel grilled Facebook's lead on Project Libra about concerns spanning from financial systemic risk and data privacy to core questions about what kind of product the social media giant was building with dozens of major corporations.

Above all, though, lawmakers on Wednesday appeared puzzled about how Libra would fit in the financial system and why it would be profitable for the dozens of corporations already involved in its development. 

"What we're struggling with is, what are you?" asked Rep. Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterAppetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp On The Money: Liberal Dems warn moderates against changes to minimum wage bill | House grapples with Facebook's Libra | Congress, White House inch closer to budget deal | Blue states sue over tax law regulations MORE (D-Colo.). "We think you're a bank, but you're not quite like a bank." 

"I want to support your innovation, I want to support your efficiency that people believe you're bringing to the table," Perlmutter continued. "But I also don't want anybody getting hurt here."

The Hill's Emily Birnbaum and I break down the disconnect here.

 

Both sides getting closer to a budget deal: Lawmakers and key administration officials say they are getting close to a budget deal that will allow them to avoid defaulting on the debt as they barrel toward a break at the end of the month.

Congress has a matter of days before it's scheduled to leave for the August recess, raising the stakes for negotiators to clinch an agreement quickly.

The optimism comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and 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, viewed as the two key players in the talks, have engaged in a series of phone calls over the past week and were expected to speak again Tuesday.

Flashback: The progress marks a U-turn from earlier this month, when discussions between Democrats and the White House derailed. Jordain Carney and Niv Elis have the latest on the state of play.

Adding to the optimism... Pelosi also said Wednesday that she's hoping to finalize a budget package with the White House by the end of the week. Mike Lillis has more from the speaker.

 

Blue states sue Treasury, IRS over rules blocking Trump tax law workarounds: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Wednesday announced a lawsuit challenging IRS and Treasury Department regulations that block workarounds to a controversial provision in President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE's 2017 tax law.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, is the latest example of leaders from blue states seeking to push back on the Trump tax law's $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement that the lawsuit challenges "the IRS's final rule that undermines states' efforts to protect our taxpayers against the unprecedented, unlawful and politically motivated capping of the SALT deduction."

The Hill's Naomi Jagoda explains the suit here.

  • Following the passage of the GOP tax law in late 2017, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut made changes to their own tax laws in an effort to allow their residents to circumvent the SALT deduction cap.
  • The workarounds involved allowing residents to make donations to state and local funds in exchange for receiving state tax credits. The intention was for the residents to be able to deduct the donations as charitable deductions on their federal tax returns.
  • But last month, Treasury and the IRS issued final rules designed to block the workarounds. Under the regulations, taxpayers will only be able to take federal charitable tax deductions for contribution amounts that exceed the amounts of state tax credits they received.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The American dream of homeownership is becoming less accessible, as home prices have increased four times faster than incomes over the past six decades, according to a study by Clever, a real estate company.
  • The New York Times: "The five largest banks in the United States reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits in the first half of the year, thanks in part to a strong economy and to the lingering effects of President Trump's tax cuts."
  • The World Trade Organization on Tuesday delivered a mixed judgment on U.S. penalties on subsidized goods produced by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • A House panel on Wednesday voted to advance legislation aimed at protecting U.S. consumers from the billions of illegal robocalls made every year.