On The Money: Trump takes victory lap with USMCA signing | Fed holds rates steady to open 2020 | Treasury rolls out new sanctions on Russia

On The Money: Trump takes victory lap with USMCA signing | Fed holds rates steady to open 2020 | Treasury rolls out new sanctions on Russia
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Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're marveling at how quiet Brexit was after so many tumultuous months. 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-- Trump takes victory lap with USMCA signing: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE on Wednesday signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, celebrating a signature legislative accomplishment on trade.

"Today, we are finally ending the NAFTA nightmare and signing into law the brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement," Trump said in remarks Wednesday morning.

"The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved. There's never been anything like it."

With the signing of the legislation, Trump has followed through on a campaign promise of replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he ridiculed as the "worst" trade deal throughout his 2016 campaign for the White House. The Hill's Niv Elis, Morgan Chalfant and I tell you more about it here.



Dems decry White House snub: Congressional Democrats on Wednesday slammed President Trump for excluding them from the signing ceremony for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an agreement for which they achieved significant changes and won union support.

Democrats delivered strong bipartisan support for the deal in Congress after negotiating significant changes on labor enforcement, environmental provisions and pharmaceuticals with the White House

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE, who is well liked by Democrats, extended an olive branch across the aisle, thanking leaders in both parties and noting that "I've been in town long enough to know that listing members at a time like this makes more enemies than friends."

White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that several Democrats were invited to attend, but chose to skip the event. Deere did not specify which or how many Democrats were invited, and no Democrats have said they were invited to the White House ceremony.


Flashback--May 24, 2018: Trump snubs Senate Democrats key to bipartisan Dodd-Frank rollback





Fed holds rates steady to open 2020: The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would keep interest rates unchanged as a resilient labor market holds strong and inflation remains well below the central bank's ideal level.

The Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), the Fed's rate-setting panel, said in a Wednesday statement that it will maintain the baseline interest rate for overnight bank loans at 1.5 to 1.75 percent. 

The widely expected decision to keep rates steady comes after Fed officials closed out a turbulent 2019 with confidence in the U.S. economy's outlook for 2020. I explain the decision here.

  • A surge of hiring, record holiday sales and a late stock market rally at the end of 2019 helped temper fears of a recession that dominated the summer.
  • While analysts have forecast a global economic slowdown in 2020, the U.S. economy is expected to expand at a stable pace and keep unemployment close to 50-year lows.

Powell added that while the "fundamentals supporting household spending are solid," the Fed will be keeping a close eye on several potential headwinds, naming the lethal Chinese coronavirus.

"There is likely to be some disruption to activity in China and possibly globally based on the spread of the virus today and the travel restrictions and business closures that have already been imposed," Powell told reporters Wednesday.


Trump administration rolls out new sanctions over Russian occupation of Crimea: The Trump administration on Wednesday announced new sanctions related to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

  • The Treasury Department designated eight individuals in Ukraine in response to Russian aggression in the region, seven of whom are acting as government officials in Crimea with Russia's backing and without authorization from Ukraine and who were also designated by the European Union on Tuesday.
  • The U.S. sanctions also designate a Moscow-based private rail company, Grand Services Express, offering service between Russia and Crimea, as well as the company's CEO.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinGAO report details challenges of implementing Trump tax law Financial trade tax gains traction with 2020 Democrats Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles MORE said in a statement that the action reiterates "our unwavering support for restoring free and fair democratic political processes in Crimea."