Overnight Finance: GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon $2M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO | Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels

GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule: Senate and House lawmakers introduced companion measures on Thursday to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recently issued arbitration rule.

More than a dozen Republican senators, including most GOP members of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced a resolution Thursday morning to repeal the CFPB rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). GOP lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee announced that they’d introduce an identical resolution soon after. No Democrats joined either effort.

The new CFPB rule forces companies to write arbitration clauses in ways that wouldn’t prevent consumers from joining class-action lawsuits. It also forces financial firms to hand over information about “initial claims and counterclaims, answers to these claims and counterclaims, and awards issued in arbitration.” I have more here:  http://bit.ly/2uGoCow.

 

Feds fine Exxon $2M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO: The Treasury Department on Thursday fined Exxon Mobil Corp. $2 million for violating sanctions against Russia while now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of the company.

According to an enforcement filing from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Exxon in 2014 signed “eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia” with Igor Sechin, the president of Rosneft, a Moscow-owned oil company. Sechin was the subject of U.S. sanctions on Russia following its incursion into Crimea.

Exxon is challenging the fine in court, saying previous government statements about the Russia sanctions implied they would be able to to work with Rosneft. The Hill’s Devin Henry explains:  http://bit.ly/2uGER59.

 

Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels: The Senate Appropriations Committee departed from the budget plans of President Trump and the House, choosing to stick to 2017 funding levels for its fiscal 2018 spending plan.


The committee’s funding guidance laid out on Thursday $1.07 trillion in discretionary funding: $551 billion for defense and $518.5 billion for non-defense, with an additional $103.7 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, which does not count toward budget caps.

On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee approved a $1.1 trillion resolution that increased defense spending by $70.5 billion and cut non-defense spending by $7.5 billion compared to 2017 levels; it also cut OCO spending by $16.7 billion.

“Negotiations with Congress and the President may eventually produce a new budget agreement. Until such time, however, it is reasonable that we move forward using fiscal year 2017 funding levels,” said committee Chairman Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Finance: GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO | Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels Overnight Finance: CBO finds 22M more uninsured under Senate health bill | GOP agrees ObamaCare taxes must go | Supreme Court to look at Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections | More tax reform hearings | Green light for partial travel ban | MORE (R-Miss.). The Hill’s Niv Elis reports: http://bit.ly/2uH0a6x.

 


Ryan: 20 percent corporate tax rate ‘very realistic’: Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Energy: Exxon sues feds over M sanctions fine Overnight Finance: GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO | Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels OJ Simpson heard about Trump’s ‘two scoops’ in prison MORE (R-Wis.) said Thursday that a 20 percent corporate tax rate is “very realistic,” despite news reports that the rate could end up higher than that.

“That’s the plan that we put in the House, and there are other ways of getting to that rate than just the House blueprint plan,” Ryan said at a news conference at a New Balance factory in Massachusetts.

The tax-reform blueprint Ryan released last year proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, while the one-page tax plan the White House released in April called for a 15-percent corporate rate. But Politico reported this week that the White House is now discussing a rate in the low 20-percent range. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports: http://bit.ly/2uGNb4S.

 

Happy Thursday and welcome to Overnight Finance. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

 

House committee advances budget resolution: The House Budget Committee on Wednesday approved the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would increase military spending, produce billions in cuts to mandatory spending and open the door for a Republican tax reform plan.

“With the election of President Trump, our budget goes from being a vision document to being a governing document that outlines how we build a better America for our children and grandchildren,” said committee Chairwoman Diane BlackDiane BlackOvernight Finance: GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO | Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels House committee advances budget resolution Debate rages in GOP over 3 billion in cuts  MORE (R-Tenn.), who praised the accompanying plan to balance the budget in a decade and reduce the national debt.

The resolution passed along party lines with the 22 Republicans supporting and the 14 Democrats opposing after a grueling 12-hour markup. It allocated $621.5 billion for defense spending, $511 billion for nondefense discretionary spending and mandated $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the course of a decade. The Hill’s Niv Elis reports:  http://bit.ly/2uGSBMX.

 

Realtors endorse House flood insurance extension: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) endorsed a House plan to renew and revamp the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) after holding out for several changes.

NAR said Thursday that the group representing more than 1.2 million realtors backed the bill after lawmakers reduced proposed increases to flood insurance rates and preserved a policy that “protects homeowners from significant rate increases when a flood map changes.”

NAR President William E. Brown praised House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Financial Services Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Sean DuffySean DuffyOvernight Finance: GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO | Senate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels Realtors endorse House flood insurance extension The Hill’s 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wis.) for working with the group on fixes to the bill.

“The changes to the 21st Century Flood Reform Act will help give certainty to homeowners who have brought their property to code and have done their part to protect it against flood risk,” Brown said: http://bit.ly/2uGleKf.

 

Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push: American oil and natural gas companies are pushing for changes to a massive expansion of economic sanctions on Russia, warning lawmakers that the new regulations would harm them, too.

House leaders are negotiating several fixes to a bill expanding economic penalties on Russia and Iran, which includes new limits on the extent to which American and Russian oil and gas companies can interact.

The White House has asked for several changes to the bill that would limit Congress’s ability to re-impose Russian sanctions if they’re lifted by the administration. Lawmakers have mostly rejected that request, and Democrats have cited it to raise concerns about President Trump’s potential connections to Russia.

But American energy companies say the expanded sanctions were rushed through the Senate without enough vetting and could prevent United States oil and gas companies from drilling near Russian companies, even if they’re not working together. Devin Henry and I explain: http://bit.ly/2uGpf1m.

 

Senate panel advances Trump’s tax policy nominee: The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday advanced President Trump’s nominee for a key tax policy position.

The panel unanimously voted to send David Kautter’s nomination to be assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy to the full Senate.

If confirmed to the position, which oversees tax matters for the Treasury Department, Kautter is likely to play an important role in the administration’s efforts to overhaul the tax code.

“Treasury has an outstanding team of many of the most talented tax professionals in the world. Working together with you and your staffs, I believe we can get tax reform over the finish line,” Kautter told senators at his nomination hearing earlier this week. “If confirmed, it would be an honor to strive to do so.” Naomi Jagoda tells us about Kautter: http://bit.ly/2uGlB7B.

 

Senate panel rejects Trump funding cuts on Energy Department programs: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $38.4 billion spending bill for the Department of Energy and water programs.

The 30-1 vote rejected numerous proposals by President Trump that would have slashed programs that have bipartisan support. The $38.4 billion total passed by the committee is $4 billion more than Trump’s budget proposal.

The bill would fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at $330 million, a record high funding level for an agency that Trump had proposed eliminating completely.

It also would fund the the Energy Department’s energy efficiency and renewable energy at $1.94 billion — $1.2 billion above Trump’s budget proposal. Here’s more from The Hill’s Timothy Cama: http://bit.ly/2uGzliT.

 

Trump budget chief touts progress in rolling back regulations: White House Budget chief Mick Mulvaney will release on Thursday a report claiming progress on regulatory rollback, a major priority of the Trump administration.

“In the first five months of this administration alone the net cost of our regulatory agenda has been less than zero dollars,” Mulvaney said in a prepared statement, in which he trumpeted the economic agenda he has dubbed “MAGAnomics.” MAGA is an acronym for President Trump’s campaign slogan Make America Great Again.

Mulvaney’s report will tout the administration’s withdrawal or deactivation of 860 regulatory actions, and that the administration has issued only half as many economically significant regulations when compared to the same period last year.

It also notes that the Congressional Review Act allowed Congress to undo a series of Obama-era regulations, and says the administration has achieved an annualized cost savings of $22 million from agencies: http://bit.ly/2uGT01X.

 

House to consider GI expansion bill next week: The House is expected to vote on bipartisan legislation next week to remove time restrictions for veterans using their GI benefits to pay for school tuition.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Thursday that the bill, which is expected to pass easily, will be on the floor in the days before the chamber is scheduled to leave for the monthlong August recess.

The measure, known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 or “Forever GI bill,” is moving to the floor swiftly after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee advanced it earlier this week.

“This bipartisan legislation will remove the 15-year gap for benefits that forces veterans to ‘use it or lose it,’ while enabling vets to take advantage of innovative new models like nanodegrees and massive open online courses,” McCarthy said: http://bit.ly/2uGnYY8.

 

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane,  @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda and @NivElis

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