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On The Money — Senate risks Trump’s ire with debt ceiling deal

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Former President Trump’s legal team is asking a federal court to overturn a ruling that the Biden administration may hand over documents requested by a congressional panel.

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: A handful of Senate Republicans helped clear a path to raise the debt ceiling despite former President Trump’s warnings. We’ll also look at a steep drop in unemployment claims and Democratic angst over the SALT deduction.

But first, Enes Kanter tells us why he became an American.

For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Naomi Jagoda and Aris Folley. Write to us slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and, afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

14 senators help advance debt limit deal 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) returns to his office after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

Fourteen Senate Republicans on Thursday helped advance a deal negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to set up a one-time exemption to the filibuster on raising the debt ceiling. 

Senators voted 64-36 to close debate on the bill, which also prevents automatic cuts faced by physicians and other medical providers under Medicare from taking effect. 

  • McConnell and GOP Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas), Joni Ernst (Iowa) Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Thom Tillis (N.C.), John Thune (S.D.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) helped advance the bill.
  • The bill passed the Senate Thursday evening, with 10 Republicans ultimately voting with Democrats. It sets up a fast-track process for bypassing the 60-vote legislative filibuster on a bill to raise the debt ceiling, letting Democrats raise it on their own. 
  • The vote on the debt hike bill is expected to take place by Dec. 15, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress will hit a cliff for keeping the government solvent. 

Though leadership had expressed public confidence for days they would be able to deliver at least 10 GOP votes, the deal, negotiated by McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) sparked fresh divisions among Senate Republicans just two months after a bruising fight over a short-term debt hike. 

  • Former President Trump knocked McConnell for not weaponizing the debt ceiling against Biden’s broader legislative agenda, saying that “the old crow is a disaster,”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump’s, offered frank criticism at the caucus lunch on Wednesday.  

“This idea puts all of us in a box, and I don’t appreciate it. And I won’t forget it,” Graham said. “I like you. Sen. McConnell has been a great Republican leader … but this has been a moment where I want to be on the record to say, ‘I don’t like this.’ ”

Jordain Carney has more here.

LEADING THE DAY

Jobless claims hit lowest level in 52 years

New claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 184,000 last week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department, falling to the lowest level in more than 52 years.

Last week’s total was the lowest since September 1969 and breaks the previous record for the lowest number of weekly jobless claims since the emergence of the pandemic.

In the week ending Dec. 4, seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless aid fell by 43,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 227,000.

The caveat: While the plunge in jobless claims appeared to show a strengthening labor market, economists said that the scale of the drop could be skewed by seasonal adjustments based on pre-pandemic hiring patterns. 

Non-seasonally adjusted claims totaled 280,665 last week, rising 29.3 percent from the previous week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said it was expecting a seasonal increase of 106,047 claims last week.

I explain here.

‘MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF ATTACK ADS’

Democratic worries grow over politics of SALT cap

Democratic concerns are mounting that a tax provision in President Biden’s social spending package that is prized by suburban lawmakers from New York and New Jersey could come back to haunt the party in the midterm elections.

Republicans are increasingly attacking Democrats for rolling back the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, arguing it will largely benefit the rich. A number of Democrats are fearful that the GOP criticisms could resonate with voters in areas outside of large coastal metropolitan areas.

In an interview with The Hill on Wednesday, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), the only Democrat to vote against the social spending measure in the House, predicted that there would be “millions of dollars of attack ads” against vulnerable Democrats on the SALT deduction issue.

“Doing SALT I think further solidifies a growing narrative that the Democratic Party is an urban elite, wealthy party that can’t break out of urban areas, liberal urban communities,” Golden said.

Read more from Naomi here.

COMBATING CRIME

Retailers call on Congress to fight online sales of stolen and counterfeit goods

A coalition of major retailers is calling on Congress to take action to address the online sale of stolen and counterfeit goods, which has coincided with a spike in smash-and-grab thefts in major cities.

The chief executives of more than 20 businesses penned a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday asking them to take measures against the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods online, pointing to the impact organized retail crime is having on the online shopping market.

“As millions of Americans have undoubtedly seen on the news in recent weeks and months, retail establishments of all kinds have seen a significant uptick in organized crime in communities across the nation,” the letter reads.

“While we constantly invest in people, policies, and innovative technology to deter theft, criminals are capitalizing on the anonymity of the Internet and the failure of certain marketplaces to verify their sellers. This trend has made retail businesses a target for increasing theft, hurt legitimate businesses who are forced to compete against unscrupulous sellers, and has greatly increased consumer exposure to unsafe and dangerous counterfeit products,” it adds.

Read more from The Hill’s Mychael Schnell here.

Good to Know 

Roughly two-thirds of Americans reported higher household expenses than in March 2020, an indication that inflation continues to impact Americans despite wage growth, according to a new poll released on Thursday.

Here’s what else have our eye on:

  • Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) on Thursday pushed for mandatory corporate reporting of environmental, social and governance information as investor demand soars.
  • Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Maria Cantwell (Wash.) are urging federal agencies to investigate whether Facebook misled advertisers by misrepresenting the reach of ads.

 

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 Jared Golden Joe Biden John Barrasso John Cornyn John Thune Joni Ernst Juan Vargas Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Maria Cantwell Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Richard Burr Rob Portman Roger Wicker Roy Blunt Shelley Moore Capito Susan Collins Thom Tillis

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