On The Money: Dems say Ukraine aid documents from OMB show 'pattern of abuse' | Blue states file appeal over GOP tax law deduction cap | Dems sue Barr, Ross over census documents

On The Money: Dems say Ukraine aid documents from OMB show 'pattern of abuse' | Blue states file appeal over GOP tax law deduction cap | Dems sue Barr, Ross over census documents

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Niv Elis, filling in for Sylvan Lane on this fine Thanksgiving week with your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--House Democrats say documents they received from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) "suggest a pattern of abuse" that is "a troubling deviation from long-standing procedures" regarding the hold-up of aid to Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Democrats faulted the OMB for not following the regular apportionment channels, while laying out a timeline showing how the military aid of nearly $400 million was withheld at the direction of a political appointee.

"OMB took the seemingly unprecedented step of stripping career officials of their normal role in the apportionment process and instead vesting a political appointee with that authority," the Democratic-controlled House Budget Committee wrote in a summary of the documents.

The committee did not release the documents from the OMB, but said it might as part of future legislative process. It also said it had only received a portion of the requested documents. 

The details: The summary laid out a timeline of the aid being withheld, pointing to appointee Michael Duffey, the OMB's associate director for National Security Programs, for signing the withholdings.

The first formal OMB order to withhold funds came on July 25, the same day as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry.

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The summary charged that even after the funds were released in September, $35.2 million was not released by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

A bill preventing a government shutdown extended the timeline for disbursing the funds, until they were finally released after bipartisan uproar from lawmakers.

Budget office pushes back: An OMB spokesman said the summary was "the same old spin from Democrats."

"OMB has and will continue to use its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President's priorities and with the law," they said.

Read more on the Democratic report and OMB's role here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Blue states appeal over tax law deduction cap: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland on Tuesday filed a notice of appeal in an effort to further their legal challenge to the GOP tax law's cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

The appeal from the four blue states comes after a federal district judge in New York dismissed their lawsuit in September. The states are appealing the district court's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

"The Trump administration's SALT policy is retribution politics - plain and simple," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a news release.

"New York is already the nation's leader in sending more tax dollars to Washington than we get back every year, and we will not allow this administration to pick the pockets of hard-working New Yorkers to fund tax cuts for corporations and send even more money to red states," he added. "We will continue to fight this unconstitutional assault until it is repealed once and for all."

Naomi Jagoda has more on the legal fight here

 

Democrats sue Barr, Ross over census documents: The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday sued Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossDesperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Trump scheduled to attend Davos amid impeachment trial Let's remember the real gifts the president has given America MORE over their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas in the panel's investigation of the aborted effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

"Since the Supreme Court ruled against them--and the House of Representatives held them in contempt for blocking the Committee's investigation--Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross have doubled down on their open defiance of the rule of law and refused to produce even a single additional document in response to our Committee's bipartisan subpoenas," House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyOvernight Energy: Appeals court tosses kids' climate suit | California sues Trump over fracking | Oversight finds EPA appointees slow-walked ethics obligations Oversight finds EPA political appointees slow-walked ethics obligations Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

"President Trump and his aides are not above the law," Maloney added. "They cannot be allowed to disregard and degrade the authority of Congress to fulfill our core Constitutional legislative and oversight responsibilities."

In a statement, a Commerce Department spokesperson called Oversight lawmakers "overzealous" and said the lawsuit lacks merit.

Harper Neidig has the details here

 

Relocated BLM staff face salary cuts: A new internal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website designed to answer employees' questions about the agency's upcoming relocation out West says staffers should expect a drop in their overall pay.

The information was included in an internal page available to staff seen by The Hill that contained questions and answers about the controversial plan to move most D.C.-based BLM employees and establish a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo.

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In the page, BLM leaders lay out their rationale for the move, touting one of the benefits of relocating as "general cost savings for the bureau because of less expensive office space, in most cases, and decreasing travel costs."

The agency will also save on pay, as D.C. employees will not keep the portion of their salary tied to cost of living in Washington.

Rebecca Beitsch has the lowdown here.

  

GOOD TO KNOW