Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.
THE BIG DEAL—Senate panel cancels vote on key spending bill amid standoff: The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday canceled votes on two spending bills that had been scheduled for the following day, marking the latest sign of turmoil as lawmakers try to fund the government beyond Sept. 30.
The panel had been scheduled to vote Thursday on spending bills covering the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education, as well as the State Department and foreign operations.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told a small group of reporters on Tuesday that he was likely to cancel the panel vote on the legislation unless he could work out a deal with Democrats on how to proceed.
Why it matters: Senators are racing to finish off a series of 12 spending bills ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline to fund the federal government. The HHS-Labor-Education bill is considered a key priority for Democrats, but became a headache this week because of fights on controversial issues including abortion and President Trump‘s border wall.
Democrats threaten to vote against Defense bill over border wall: Senate Democrats are also threatening to withhold their votes on a spending bill for the Pentagon unless Republicans agree to block Trump from repurposing defense funds for his wall on the Mexican border, a tactic he’s employed in recent months.
- Democrats on Thursday will offer an amendment in committee to block Trump from reprogramming defense funds for his wall.
- While the bill could squeak through the committee with only GOP support, Democratic votes will be needed for the measure to win Senate approval.
On tap tomorrow
- The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing entitled “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 3: The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition,” 9 a.m.
- The House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Artificial Intelligence holds a hearing on data security in the financial services industry, 9:30 a.m.
- The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing entitled “Developments in Global Insurance Regulatory and Supervisory Forums,” 10 a.m.
LEADING THE DAY
Democrats scoff at GOP push to confirm Trump’s NAFTA rewrite by end of October:
House Democrats quickly rejected Wednesday a push from their Republican counterparts to approve President Trump’s new North American trade pact before the end of October.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Thursday to submit the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to Congress in time to approve the deal before the Oct. 21 Canadian election, according to a GOP source.
Republicans have long pressured Democrats to cease their objections to aspects of Trump’s replacement for the North American Trade Agreement amid lengthy negotiations with Lighthizer. But top House Democrats rejected the notion that they should relent on certain requirements in time to confirm the deal by the end of next month.
- “What’s going to drive the timeline is the content. I’ve said that all along,” said Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.), a member of the House Democratic working group negotiating USMCA changes with Lighthizer.
- “How many times have you heard something like that in the last two years?…I don’t listen to any of that.” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
- “We’re not tying ourselves to the Canadian elections….we haven’t had any conversations about tying it to some other country’s elections,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), another member of the Ways and Means Committee.
Refresher: While House Democrats say they are open to approving the USMCA, they have refused to take up the deal without measures to tighten labor and environmental standards, along with enforcement of the pact itself.
Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes: President Trump was expected to meet with his economic advisers Wednesday to discuss whether he should take executive action to reduce capital gains taxes, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.
The Journal reported that Trump’s aides are expected to discuss the legal and regulatory issues concerning action on capital gains taxes, and will lay out several broader options about how to cut taxes. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- The nonprofit group overseeing Facebook’s digital currency project on Wednesday announced it is planning to pursue a payments license in Switzerland.
- More than four in 10 respondents in a poll released Wednesday said they believe the U.S. economy will weaken if President Trump is reelected next year.
- The liberal group Tax March on Wednesday announced that it has launched a five-figure ad campaign in Houston ahead of Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate to criticize President Trump’s tax law and urge candidates to put forth proposals to raise taxes on the rich.
- China on Wednesday announced that it is waiving tariffs on 16 types of U.S. products ahead of trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington.
- President Trump in an early morning tweet on Wednesday knocked the “boneheads” at the Federal Reserve, calling for interest rates of “zero, or less.”
ODDS AND ENDS
- Uber said Wednesday that it doesn’t plan to classify its drivers as employees instead of contractors even as California is moving forward with a bill that would make it harder for gig economy employers to withhold protections from its workers.