On The Money: Trump stirs trade worries with new tariffs | Mnuchin signals Trump budget won't balance | 2020 Dems plan to beef up IRS | MLB, Congress face off over minor leagues

On The Money: Trump stirs trade worries with new tariffs | Mnuchin signals Trump budget won't balance | 2020 Dems plan to beef up IRS | MLB, Congress face off over minor leagues
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're just floored by this fight between Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and Amazon's Jeff Bezos. 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 stirs trade concerns with new tariffs on metals: President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE is scheduled to enact new tariffs on steel and aluminum this weekend, a politically risky move that threatens to revisit trade tensions in an election year.

The tariffs, covering nearly $500 million of goods, come on the heels of two significant trade accomplishments: signing a preliminary deal with China and updating the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The pursuit of new tariffs suggests Trump might not set aside all of his trade fights heading into his reelection bid. The Hill's Niv Elis tells us why here.

  • Trump made his first foray into the trade wars that have come to define his presidency in March 2018, when he imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum, largely keeping the tariffs confined to the raw materials.
  • While those tariffs were designed to protect domestic steel and aluminum manufacturers, economists warned that they would distort markets and increase prices, potentially making life difficult for some producers.


Trump's new tariffs: Subsequent tariffs to protect those kinds of manufacturers are known as "cascading tariffs," and the tariffs slated to take effect Saturday are designed to cover products made from raw steel and aluminum, such as nails and automobile bumpers.

  • The new tariffs will cover roughly $449 million worth of imports, significantly less than the metal tariffs that covered about $47 billion and the $370 billion in tariffs for Chinese goods.
  • But Jacqueline Varas, an analyst at the right-leaning American Action Forum, estimates that Trump's tariffs will cost consumers $78 billion a year overall.



  • The January jobs report and revisions for 2019 job gains are released at 8:30 a.m.


More on the latest trade movements: 

  • China on Thursday announced that it will halve tariffs on some $75 billion in U.S. imports starting Feb. 14, reciprocating a move the U.S. took as part of January's "Phase One" trade deal.
  • The New York Times: "U.S. to Start Trade Talks With Kenya to Counter China's Influence"



Mnuchin signals no balance in Trump budget: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPhase-four virus relief hits a wall On The Money: Senate aims to quickly approve more small-business aid | Dems seek conditions on new funds for small-business loans | Pelosi says next round of relief will top T House GOP leaders back effort to boost small-business loans MORE on Thursday seemed to indicate that President Trump's forthcoming budget proposal will not balance over a decade, a common goal for fiscal conservatives.

Speaking to Fox Business Network, Mnuchin said that he thought the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was "manageable," but needed to come down over time.

"Under the president's budget proposal, we reduce that significantly over the next 10 years," he said. Trump's 2021 budget proposal is expected on Monday.

  • Trump's first two budget proposals laid out plans to eliminate the deficit altogether through a combination of deep domestic spending cuts and very optimistic growth projections over a 10-year period.
  • In the meantime, the deficit has grown, and is expected to surpass $1 trillion this year for the first time since the financial crisis.


MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues: Congress and MLB are barreling toward a showdown over the league's plans to eliminate 42 minor league franchises across the country ahead of the 2021 season.

The league insists the plan is needed to improve the finances of minor league baseball and conditions for developing players. But MLB is facing opposition from the general public and a broad coalition of lawmakers from both parties who say closing those teams would devastate communities in their districts. The Hill's Alex Gangitano takes us there.


Consumer bureau chief explains support for lawsuit limiting her power: The director of a powerful financial watchdog said Thursday that she asked the Supreme Court to strip her immunity from being fired without cause by President Trump to settle "uncertainty" lingering over the agency.

Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), said Thursday that she is supporting a legal challenge to the bureau before the Supreme Court in order to resolve questions about the agency's structure.

"Congress obviously provided a clear mission for this agency, but there are some questions around this and I want the uncertainty to be resolved," Kraninger said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. I explain her decision and what it means for the future of the CFPB.

More from Kraninger's testimony: Kraninger also took heat from Democrats on Thursday over an agreement made with the Education Department (ED) that critics say does little to safeguard those with student loans.




  • Democratic presidential candidates are proposing to give the IRS more resources for enforcement as they seek to combat inequality and raise revenue for their spending priorities.
  • Chinese telecom giant Huawei is suing Verizon, the second-largest telecommunications provider in the U.S., over allegations that it infringed on Huawei's patents, setting up a showdown between the two tech powerhouses trying to lead the race to implement the next generation of wireless networks. 
  • The number of workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities integrated into the workforce has largely plateaued in the past year,  according to a Thursday report from the ANCOR Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).