On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war

On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war
© Greg Nash

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THE BIG DEAL--Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments: GOP senators on Thursday attempted to bring a House-passed retirement savings bill to the Senate floor with votes on a limited number of amendments, but the effort was rejected by Democrats.

The Republican effort and Democrats' rejection highlighted how, despite widespread bipartisan support and backing from industry groups, it is still unclear when the retirement bill will be enacted. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda explains why

 

About the bill:

  • The House in May approved the bill, known as the SECURE Act, nearly unanimously. 
  • The bill includes a host of provisions aimed at making it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans and for people to save for retirement. 
  • It also reverses a provision in the 2017 Republican tax-cut law that inadvertently raised taxes on military survivor benefits paid to children.

 

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There has also been bipartisan interest in the Senate in passing legislation to boost retirement savings. But several GOP senators have been preventing the House-passed bill from advancing in the Senate without a roll-call vote, seeking an opportunity for their amendments to be considered.

 

The GOP amendments that would have been considered under the agreement included: 

 

LEADING THE DAY

Stopgap funding bill may step up holiday battle to avert shutdown: A stopgap measure to prevent a government shutdown is likely to last only a few weeks, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE (R-Ala.).

The House and Senate have yet to agree on any of the 12 annual spending bills for the 2020 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1. President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE's proposed border wall is at the heart of the disagreements. The current continuing resolution expires Nov. 21, so lawmakers are scrambling to pass a stopgap bill to last into mid-December.

Shelby, who had previously floated a three- to four-month continuing resolution, or stopgap funding measure, said a December end-date was being discussed in meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Congressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach MORE (R-Ky.).

He also said that he did not believe there was a serious chance of a shutdown happening, either in November or in December.

"I believe it's zero," he said. "I hope so."

 

Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war: The hardwood industry is stepping up its pleas for the Trump administration to end the ongoing trade war with China.

Industry advocates say they have been hard hit by the retaliatory tariffs and are putting new pressure on lawmakers and administration officials.

Nathan Jeppson, CEO of Northwest Hardwoods, was in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, as well as lawmaker offices, to push for relief for his industry.

Since the start of the trade war, his company has closed two facilities, one in Virginia and one in Washington, decreased the shifts at other facilities, and had layoffs at the corporate level. In total, they've laid off 225 of their 1,600-person workforce.

"I don't think people understood actually the job loss potential here and where these jobs are. You think about our industry, we are where the woods are so we are in rural Pennsylvania, rural West Virginia. I can't even get cell coverage at most of our mills," Jeppson said.

The Hill's Alex Gangitano explains why here.

 

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GOOD TO KNOW

  • Wells Fargo has hired William Daley, former White House chief of staff to President Obama, to be its new head of public affairs as the bank struggles to free itself from unprecedented federal penalties.
  • General Motors has sold its Lordstown, Ohio, plant to electric truck manufacturer Lordstown Motors Corp. about six months after President Trump hailed the deal on Twitter, according to Bloomberg.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • President Trump's newly appointed chief technology officer on Thursday criticized Chinese surveillance and censorship in his first major international remarks, ramping up the Trump administration's intensifying tech battle with China.