Overnight Finance

On The Money — House Democrats ready to Build Back Better

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
Greg Nash

Happy Thursday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today’s Big Deal: The House is hours away from a planned vote on President Biden’s sweeping social services and climate bill. We’ll also look at Sen. Joe Manchin’s opinion on the Federal Reserve chairmanship and a brutal confirmation hearing.

But first, a potential Olympic boycott. 

For The Hill, I’m Sylvan Lane. Write me at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

Democrats plan Thursday vote on massive Biden bill 

House Democrats are planning to vote Thursday evening on the massive social benefits and climate package at the core of President Biden’s domestic agenda, lending the embattled party a significant victory heading into the long Thanksgiving recess.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who formally sets the floor schedule, announced the plan Thursday afternoon, just hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had signaled an intent to race the bill to the floor by day’s end.

“It is my hope that we will complete this legislation today so that this would be the last legislative day prior to the Thanksgiving work period,” Hoyer said on the House floor.

  • Standing in the way of the vote has been a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress’s official scorekeeper, where officials have been racing around the clock to complete more than a dozen provisional estimates gauging the budgetary impacts of provisions under the various committees.
  • The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper said that the massive bill would increase the deficit by $367 billion over 10 years.
  • However, that number does not take into account $207 billion in revenue that CBO estimates would be raised by providing the IRS more money for enforcement.

Mike Lillis has the latest here.

LEADING THE DAY

Manchin: ‘Looking very favorably’ at Powell as Fed chair after meeting

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told The Hill that he was “looking very favorably,” but hadn’t made a final decision, on supporting Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell if he’s renominated as chairman, after the two spoke on Wednesday. 

“Well we’re looking very favorably towards that, because I needed that conversation with him. But I have not made up my mind yet. But I’m just saying that it helped an awful lot having him clear up a lot of the concerns I had,” Manchin told The Hill.

  • The two spoke by phone on Wednesday, with Manchin telling reporters earlier this week that he was trying to set up a meeting to talk about his concerns with inflation and quantitative easing.
  • Manchin told The Hill that the two had a “very good conversation” and that Powell addressed some of his concerns and helped Manchin understand some of the thinking behind Federal Reserve strategy. 
  • Manchin’s positive readout is a good sign for Powell if Biden renominates him for the Fed’s top spot, and also a signal to the president that a reappointment would be greeted with support.

Jordain Carney has the scoop here.

DEBT CLIFF DETOUR

McConnell, Schumer hunt for debt ceiling off-ramp

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) met on Thursday as they look for an off-ramp from a looming fight over the debt ceiling.

“We had a good discussion about several different issues that are all extant as we move toward the end of the session,” McConnell told reporters. 

“We agreed to kind of keep talking, working together to try to get somewhere,” McConnell added.

  • The in-person meeting comes after The Hill first reported on Wednesday that the two had talked about the nation’s borrowing limit, though two sources cautioned the discussions were preliminary. 
  • Raising the debt ceiling is one of several issues on Congress’s year-end agenda after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that they will hit the “X” date — when the government is no longer solvent — on Dec. 15. Congress also needs to fund the government and complete a defense bill, and Democrats want to pass President Biden’s spending plan.

Jordain has more here.

HAVE YOU NO DECENCY?

Dems erupt over GOP ‘McCarthyism’ as senators vet Biden bank watchdog pick

A Senate confirmation hearing for President Biden’s pick to lead the top banking regulator erupted Thursday into a fight over her youth in the former Soviet Union and its relevance to her nomination.

During a Thursday hearing on Saule Omarova’s nomination to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee blasted Republicans for raising questions about her loyalties to the U.S. and capitalism.

The background: Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University, was born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan before emigrating to the U.S. While she has been a U.S. citizen since 2005 and served in the George W. Bush administration, Senate Republicans have pressured her to hand over a thesis on Karl Marx’s economic analysis she wrote as an undergraduate at Moscow State University nearly 40 years ago.

The pivotal moment: Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed Omarova if she ever resigned from a “Young Communists” group she was automatically enrolled in as a schoolchild. 

“I don’t know whether to call you ‘professor’ or ‘comrade,’ ” Kennedy said.

Omarova explained that she had little academic freedom or choice in the Soviet Union, particularly as an ethnic minority whose family was nearly wiped out by Joseph Stalin.

“I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime,” Omarova said. “This is what seared in my mind. That’s who I am.”

I have more here.

Good to Know

White House press secretary Jen Psaki addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday, November 15, 2021.

For the second time in a month, the White House on Thursday urged large businesses to move forward with coronavirus vaccine mandates for their workforces despite court challenges to the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test requirement for private companies.

Here’s what else have our eye on:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to open an investigation into the planned deal between former President Trump’s new media and technology company and a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC.
  • Larry Summers, who served in top economic policy roles during the Clinton and Obama administrations, said Thursday that the IRS funding proposal in Democrats’ social spending bill is likely to raise more revenue than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to estimate.
  • The federal government has a 50-50 chance of defaulting on the national debt if lawmakers don’t raise or suspend the borrowing limit before they leave the Capitol for Christmas, according to projections released Wednesday.

{mosads}That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Janet Yellen Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Kennedy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steny Hoyer

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