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On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, where we will be off until Tuesday. 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–Sanders defends vote against USMCA: ‘Not a single damn mention’ of climate change: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a video on Friday explaining his vote Thursday against the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal (USMCA), saying that it included “not a single damn mention” of climate change. 

“There is not one reference to the words climate change,” Sanders said in the video posted to Twitter. “Here you have a major trade agreement which in fact will make it easier for the large oil companies to destroy our planet.”

He also repeated his concerns that it could result in U.S. jobs being outsourced to “low-wage” countries.

Bernie stands alone: Sanders, who was one of only 10 senators to oppose the deal that overwhelmingly passed the Senate on Thursday, had previously expressed concerns about it, including during Tuesday night’s presidential debate. 

Sanders split on the issue with fellow progressive candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who expressed support for the deal during the debate, saying that “it will give some relief to our farmers.”

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The other two senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination–Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) also voted for the deal.

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

China sees weakest growth in 29 years amid trade war with US: New data from the China’s National Bureau of Statistics reveals that the world’s second-largest economy had its weakest economic growth in nearly three decades last year.

Due in part to the trade war with the U.S. that has lasted nearly two years, Beijing had expected economic growth to fall off some, but 6.1 percent is the lowest rate of economic growth China has had since 1990, Reuters reports.

Will ‘phase one’ help?: The numbers come on the heels of Wednesday’s signing of “phase one” of a new trade deal between the U.S. and China. There has been some optimism that China’s economic growth will be able to rebound, but sources told the news service that Beijing is setting a modest target of 6 percent growh for 2020. The target for 2019 had been 6–6.5 percent.

 

Warren praises IRS move to expand tax relief for people with discharged student loans: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate, on Friday praised the IRS and Treasury Department’s decision to provide tax relief to more people with discharged student loans.

“Predatory for-profit colleges have cheated hundreds of thousands of students who were trying to build a future, and those student loan borrowers shouldn’t have to pay taxes on their cancelled student loans,” Warren said in a statement released by her Senate office.

“I’m glad Treasury and the IRS are expanding these guidelines to protect more students from additional hardship.”

Background: The Treasury and IRS on Wednesday released guidance under which certain taxpayers with discharged student loans will not have to report the loan amounts as income on their federal tax returns.

 

NEXT WEEK’S NEWS, NOW: House lawmakers will be home in their districts and senators will be running the start of Trump’s impeachment trial, which will be expected to dominate the news from Washington.

 

SPONSORED CONTENT – PRESENTED BY WELLS FARGO

Rising housing costs are forcing families to sacrifice basic needs like food, health care and education.

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Wells Fargo is committing $1 billion in philanthropic giving over the next six years to reduce the cost burden of housing – and help American families move into safe, stable, and affordable homes.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • A group of lawmakers on Friday called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate one of the top financial data aggregators in the U.S., questioning whether it is collecting reams of sensitive information on Americans without adequate consent. 
  • A handful of small companies on Friday violated long-standing tech industry norms by testifying publicly against the world’s largest tech firms, alleging for the congressional record that Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have hamstrung and harmed their businesses for years.

 

RECAP THE WEEK WITH ON THE MONEY:

  • Monday: Business groups worry they won’t see a ‘phase two’ China trade deal | Trump officials remove currency manipulator label for China | Job numbers, stocks boost Trump in election year
  • Tuesday: Uncertainty clouds Trump’s China trade deal | Judge delays ruling in House lawsuit over Trump tax returns | Treasury blocks foreign investments in critical US firms
  • Wednesday: Trump signs first phase of US-China trade deal | Senate to vote Thursday on Canada, Mexico deal | IRS provides relief for those with discharged student loans
  • Thursday: Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees

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