On The Money: House to vote on budget deal Thursday | US, China resuming trade talks next week | Mnuchin backs DOJ tech antitrust probe

On The Money: House to vote on budget deal Thursday | US, China resuming trade talks next week | Mnuchin backs DOJ tech antitrust probe
© Greg Nash

Happy Wednesday 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--House to vote on budget deal Thursday: Democrats will bring a bipartisan deal to raise spending caps and suspend the debt ceiling to a House vote on Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) said Wednesday.

The vote will be among the last the House takes before leaving town for a six-week August recess, and the Senate is expected to take up the vote next week, before it begins its own recess.

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The legislation would head off a potential debt default and steep spending cuts. But there are questions as progressives balk at the deal's increased defense spending and fiscal conservatives express outrage over the deficit-financed spending.

Even so, the bill seems clear for passage. The Hill's Niv Elis and Cristina Marcos explain why here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

US, China to resume trade talks next week in Shanghai: Top Trump administration officials will travel to China next week for the first high-level, in-person trade negotiating session since talks collapsed in May.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Democrats push judge for quick action on Trump tax returns lawsuit Five key players in Trump's trade battles MORE will travel to Shanghai on July 30 to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement the officials will "continue negotiations aimed at improving the trade relationship between the United States and China."

"The discussions will cover a range of issues, including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, the trade deficit, and enforcement," Grisham said.

The background: President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to formally resume talks at last month's Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan. Since then, officials have spoken by phone but no in-person negotiations have taken place.

The flashpoints: Mnuchin said Wednesday that he is hopeful the months-long trade dispute could be resolved but said there are still many sticking points.

"I would say there are a lot of issues," Mnuchin said on CNBC. "My expectation is this will be followed up with a meeting back in D.C. after this and hopefully we'll continue to progress."

  • Trump has expressed frustration that China has not quickly stepped up purchases of U.S. agricultural products, actions he said at the G-20 would begin "almost immediately." But China has not said publicly whether it made such a commitment.
  • Beijing is seeking relief from U.S. tariffs and a follow-through on the president's pledge to lift a blacklist on the Chinese tech giant Huawei.

 

Mnuchin: DOJ 'absolutely right' to launch tech antitrust probe: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced support Wednesday for a sweeping Justice Department (DOJ) antitrust investigation into the largest U.S. tech companies, taking special aim at Amazon.

"If you look at Amazon, although there's certain benefits to it, they've destroyed the retail industry across the United States, so there's no question they've limited competition," Mnuchin told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"There's areas where they've hurt small businesses, so I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all and I don't have an opinion going other than I think it's absolutely right that the attorney general is looking into these issues."

 

The background: The Justice Department announced Tuesday it would probe "whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers."

  • Amazon's massive growth and expansion has triggered bipartisan concern among lawmakers and policymakers. Dozens of Amazon warehouse and distribution center workers have also accused the company of unfair and dangerous working conditions.
  • But Mnuchin also suffered personal losses from Amazon's dominance of U.S. commerce. Mnuchin served on the board of directors of Sears Holding Corp. from 2005 until 2016 as the iconic retailer sunk into bankruptcy under the leadership of former chief executive Eddie Lampert, his college roommate.

I've got more on Mnuchin's argument and Amazon's response here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Democratic senators at a hearing on Wednesday pressed Treasury Department nominees on guidance the department issued last year reducing donor disclosure requirements for certain tax-exempt groups.
  • Facebook will pay $5 billion as part of a record settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges of extensive privacy violations in its handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the agency announced Wednesday. Facebook also said it was the subject of an FTC antitrust probe.
  • A Florida Republican is bucking the party line and pushing a carbon tax as a way to stem global warming. 
  • CNBC: "The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite reached all-time highs on Wednesday, propelled by a rally in chip stocks as investors shook off regulatory concerns facing Big Tech."

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar is calling Republican senators to encourage them to vote for a bill to lower drug prices being considered on Thursday in the Senate Finance Committee, according to sources familiar with the matter. 
  • Bloomberg News: "Bernard Madoff asked President Trump to shorten his 150-year prison sentence, effectively seeking to finish his life in freedom after running the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history."